Body Language – Fake It ‘Til You Become It

Callosum finds inspiration through Ted videos. If you’re not familiar with Ted.com add it to your professional development bucket list. This week we watched Amy Cuddy deliver her “Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are.”

Amy, a social psychologist, discusses body language and how it shapes who you are. Her research shows we can change other people’s perceptions, as well as our own bodies chemistry, simply by changing body positions.

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When we think of non-verbal cues, we usually think of how we judge others, how they judge us and what are the outcomes. We may not be aware that when we ourselves create non-verbal cues (example: posture), our body itself reacts to these cues which then affects our thoughts, feelings and physiology. Amy discovered that our mind can change our bodies. For example, when we force ourselves to smile, the brain reacts and changes the way we are feeling.

When we look at powerful people, they tend to be more assertive, confident, optimistic and take more risks. Physiologically, testosterone is ‘the dominance hormone’ and cortisol is ‘the stress hormone.’ High power alpha males have high testosterone and low cortisol. Evidence shows the body can shape the mind at the facial level (Smile and your body reacts with happiness.) and also by a roll change (In the animal kingdom, when a male is put in a an alpha male position, the body chemically reacts and assumes a leadership position).

Amy conducted a human experiment to test that by standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident, our brain follows the body posture and triggers actual confidence. The setting of the experiment was a mock job interview. Before entering the interview, subjects were divided into two control groups. Half were directed to hold a high power pose for two minutes. The other half were directed to hold a low power pose for two minutes. Then subjects entered a five minute long interview in front of a panel of judges. The judges had no knowledge of the pre-interview pose and were trained to give no verbal cues to the applicants. Results showed judges wanted to hire the applicants from the high power pose control group.

The study confirms our bodies change our minds, our minds change our behavior and our behavior changes our outcomes. The typical saying is “Fake it until you make it.” Amy recommends, “Don’t fake it until you make it. Fake it until you become it.”

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Take 20 minutes today to watch the video. You’ll find yourself squirming when evaluating your own posture. After watching the video, take TWO minutes to create your power pose. Try it on before important or perceived stressful situations and watch the difference it makes.

Callosum integrates body language into our executive presence module of personal branding training – available for both individuals and businesses. Finding yourself challenged with commanding a room, being the alpha fe/male or shifting your mood at the office? It’s not a secret, but it does take practice. We’re here when your ready.

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