Practice #17: Use a power pose to build your confidence. When you feel less powerful and less confident, your physical demeanor reflects it. Your shoulders slump forward. Your breathing is shallow. You feel like a slab of concrete is strapped to your back, and you look like it too.
How confident people look
When you feel confident, you’re energized. You walk with purpose, you chat with people, and you breath in the fresh air. You exude charisma. You feel successful. Your physical demeanor reflects your mood. You can use this relationship to consciously shift your mood and how people perceive you.
Professor Amy Cuddy at the Harvard Business School conducted research on the chemistry of body language. Her research showed people immediately interpret who is powerful and who is perceived as powerless just by how you sit, walk, stand or shake hands.
The “power pose”
Professor Cuddy documented how doing a “power pose” releases testosterone in both men and women, elevating your confidence and willingness to take more risks. In the power pose, you open your body up, place your feet apart and either raise your hands above your head or plant them on your hips. Hold this stance for two minutes.
Do your pose in a restroom, an empty room, or other private space. This technique changes your own state and your own chemistry. When you leave that private space, even though you’ve released the power pose, you’ll feel confident. You’ll project an aura of success. Strike a power pose before you head out the door and whenever you need a boost of confidence.
You can read more about Cuddy’s research here, with great visuals and a link to her terrific TED Talk.