Sit or stand in a “power pose.”
What’s a power pose? Researchers have identified numerous kinds of body language associated with power in social contexts. A sample of these include putting your feet up on a desk with your hands interlaced behind your head:
and George W. Bush.
Power poses also include putting arms overhead in a victory stance as winning sprinters do, leaning forward over a desk with one hand on the desk, and other postures that generally are open, upright, and take up space, as opposed to those that involve collapsing forward, touching the face/neck/torso, or minimizing one’s size (like checking your smart phone).
Amy Cuddy and her colleagues found that non-white males and women in their Harvard MBA programs didn’t participate as much as the white males and lacked the power poses more commonly seen in the white male students. Since class participation is 50% of one’s grade as an MBA student, this leads to lower marks for minorities and women. The research already showed that power leads to power poses, but she wanted to know if the opposite was also the case, basically if you can “fake it ‘till you make it” with regards to social influence.
The results of this study were interesting. With just two minutes of power posing, participants had much higher testosterone levels and much lower cortisol (stress hormone) levels than those participants who spent two minutes hunched over in low-power poses. Power posers also took more risks in a 50/50 gambling situation (for example, get $2 now or $4 if you win a coin toss).
And even more interesting, in an interview-like situation held afterwards, those who power posed were seen as more enthusiastic and better candidates than those who were in the low-power pose condition.
In this entertaining video presentation, Cuddy discusses the results and implications of her research.
In NLP, this is known as managing one’s state by “acting as if,” or sometimes “kinesthetic state access” if you want to get technical. Changing your body posture is just one of many ways to do this, and it is not always feasible to take on power poses when you need to be confident and persuasive! But it is one choice that you now know about.
When you learn NLP, you’ll find out that there are many other ways of accessing useful states as well. And not only that, you can also anchor those states to future situations so that you won’t have to consciously will yourself into the state. It can just be there when you need it. It’s great to see research like this validating the things we do in NLP as well as providing interesting insight into the neurochemical mechanisms of state changes.
To learn more about the high-quality, 1-on-1 NLP training with me available through the iNLP Center, you can click here now: http://inlpcenter.com/duff/
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