When Madonna sang, “Strike a Pose” little did I know she was doling out career advice! Or, as Harvard Business School professor and researcher Amy Cuddy notes, “Our bodies change our minds, and our minds can change our behavior, and our behavior can change our outcomes.”
It’s all based on body language.
Need to boost your confidence and mood prior to a big presentation or negotiation? One of the high-power poses that Professor Cuddy advocates is “The Wonder Woman” (fists on hips, legs wide, head held high.) Just two minutes in this power pose changes your body chemistry as well as the way others perceive you. It also affects the way you perform. Strike the pose, then stride into any situation feeling more confident.
Another bit of body language wisdom is something many of us heard from our moms ad nauseam, “Stand up straight!” Guess mom intuitively knew what science has proven: Slouching leads to lowered self-confidence and higher stress. Plus, it’s not the look of someone in control.
Stuck on what to do about a team goal? Have everyone stubbornly cross their arms and see what new ideas then emerge. When University of Rochester researchers gave subjects an unsolvable problem, those who folded their arms persevered nearly twice as long as others.
When you find yourself losing control at work, clench your fists. It increases your willpower to get through the moment. A study in Singapore found that clenched fists stoked willpower. Try it next time you’re craving McDonald’s fries!
Simple physical techniques can shift not only how we feel, but how others perceive us. For example, simply smiling can make you happier. A Clark University study found that smiling wide and holding it for 20 seconds was most effective.
Try some of these techniques around the office or at home and see what a difference even a small physical change can make in your outlook, your performance and your results. Strike a pose!