First impressions count. Dating and job hunting are two situations where you may only get one shot to impress - it’s part of why these situations are so stressful. So what if I told you there is a way to overcome some of your nervousness and help you to show off who you truly are instead?
Below is a link to what is currently the second most popular TED talk of all time, Amy Cuddy’s ‘’Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are”.
If you’d like to be more confident, it’s well worth investing the twenty minutes it takes to watch. The gist of the talk is that by simply adopting ‘power poses’ (think putting your feet up on the desk and leaning back, hands clasped behind your head) for a couple of minutes before a stress inducing situation will lead you to feel and act more confidently.
Amy Cuddy can explain the science better than I can, so I’ll leave that to her. What I got from watching the presentation was the idea that body language is a two way street –we can actually change the way we feel about ourselves, as well as the way others perceive us, by consciously changing our body language. If you want to feel confident, stand how a confident person would stand. You won’t just fool others – you’ll fool yourself too. And by consistently adopting poses which reflect self-confidence, we can end up as more confident people.
Here are some examples of confident poses to try:
Whilst in conversation:
Put your hand on your hip rather than by your side when standing, to seem ‘’bigger”. Definitely do not cross your arms across your body – this conveys a need to protect yourself.
Make a ‘bridge’ between your body and a large object, like a table, by leaning on it/ touching it. Again, this is to increase your sense of presence.
As you go about your day-to-day life:
Try and sleep on your back! The foetal position suggests a need to protect yourself. If you are a side sleeper, spend a couple of minutes stretching out in bed, starfish style, before you get up.
Check your posture throughout the day. Aim to stand/ sit up straight, keep your arms and legs uncrossed, and look people in the eye when you talk to them.
Notice other people’s postures. In the doctor’s waiting room, at the bus stop, waiting for coffee, in a team meeting – check out how others are sitting/ standing and who seems to be a confident person. Whatever posture they’re adopting that makes you think they’re confident, steal it!
Before stressful situations:
Executive pose – if you can get away with it, putting your feet up on the desk and leaning back, hands clasped behind your head, for a couple of minutes (try to find an empty room, or practice at home).
Stand up, lean forward onto a desk or table, and look down the length of the table, as though addressing a board meeting.
And my personal favourite - the Wonder Woman! Stand as per picture below.
If you could do with a boost in self-confidence, check out Amy’s talk and get posing, today!
Lana Hall, Psychologist. Helping you to live your best life, using the power of psychology.