Body Language Makeover for Interview (and life) Success

By Neil Patrick

We all know that some people are more confident about themselves than others. We also know that this confidence often makes them more successful, whether their true aptitude warrants this or not.

And we’ve all observed how confident, even arrogant personalties seem to be able to harness something almost primal to win through. What is this?

Is it just attitude? Is it body chemistry? Is it social conditioning?

Are there things that we can all do which can make us feel more confident and thus perform better? There have always been plenty of coaches and other pseudo-scientific types telling us that this is indeed possible. But the assertion was always just that – it was never really backed up by much science.

But it turns out now that this isn’t just new age nonsense. The truth is now borne out by the results of experiments.

Amy Cuddy at Harvard business school has carried out research to discover how certain body postures affect our performance at critical events in our lives. She tested results at job interviews in particular. She used what she calls ‘power postures’ to see if these could make a difference. And the findings are frankly amazing.

Both humans and animals express power through their bodies. They tumble in on themselves when they feel unsure, making themselves smaller by hunching over, crossing their arms over their chest and avoiding big movements. When they feel on top of the world, they sprawl out. Amy wondered - could adopting these postures change a person’s internal state actually make them feel more powerful?

Not only that, could this feeling of increased power really result in better performance and how we are perceived by others?

“Our nonverbals govern how we think and feel about ourselves. Our bodies change our minds,” she says.

But it’s not just about feeling better, Amy’s research found that when positive physical postures and self-talk, as she calls it, ‘fake it until you make it’, have a profound influence on the actual outcomes in people’s lives.

If you think that you’ve not really got the results you deserve, then this is a must see video. Better still, you’ll discover what you can do that takes almost no time at all, to capitalise on what Amy has discovered.

To hear Cuddy’s powerful story of how power posing helped her get her own life on track, watch her TEDx talk below. You’ll hear stories of how power posing has worked for others, as well as transforming her own life, enabling her to overcome a car accident which seriously damaged her mental faculties.

The acclaim for Amy’s work has been widespread:

From a male high school physics teacher in the United States:

“I introduced my AP Physics students to power posing last spring. One student in particular was always so nervous during assessments and therefore her test scores did not represent her abilities at all. We all know that old saying about correlation and causation — and this was no scientific study — but from that day forward that student power posed before every physics test and her grades went from high ‘C’s and low ‘B’s to where she belonged — in the mid to lower ‘A’s. I’m convinced that power posing helped her even if it is difficult to prove.”

From an online commenter:

“It’s nice to see that there’s scientific support for Oscar Hammerstein’s King and I lyrics: ‘Whenever I feel afraid, I hold my head erect and whistle a happy tune, so no one will suspect I’m afraid …The result of this deception is very strange to tell, for when I fool the people I fear, I fool myself as well.’”

From a male musician in Canada:

“I tried your ‘power positions’ right before I went on stage with a symphony, and I have to say, it was the best performance I have had in terms of nerves in my life.”

From a woman in finance in the United States:

“I power posed before my third interview for a job the other day! Moving onto fourth and final interview on Tuesday!!! I was seriously nervous and power posing calmed me down … Okay, there was a fifth interview today. I was freaking out, so while waiting I walked outside and power posed on the street. I can’t believe how much better I felt. And I did really well on the interview.”

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