Right now, what’s your body doing? Are you hunched over, curled up, scrunching your shoulders?
Body language is a meaningful form of nonverbal communication. Mute a video, and you can still guess how someone feels by their hand gestures and facial expression.
But would you be surprised to hear that your own body language can have a profound effect on your self-confidence?
Social psychologist Amy Cuddy studies the body language people use when
expressing power. It’s surprisingly universal. Ever seen an athlete cross a finish line and raise their arms and chin in the air in victory? Even blind people do this.
In the business world, says Cuddy, you can use body language to your benefit: “When you pretend to be powerful, you are more likely to actually feel powerful.”
In lab experiments, participants struck power poses for two minutes — hands on hips, feet planted wide apart. Then, by testing their aversion to risk tolerance, the team found that people in a high-power physical position show a significantly higher tolerance for risk.
When you’re not feeling confident, fake it until you make it. Strike a “Wonder Woman pose” (the scientific name for the one described above) for two minutes just before you head into that big meeting. You might be surprised at the results.