Power posing: how it can help with your presentation skills

Power posing: how it can help with your presentation skills

Power Pose 2010

This weekend I had some spare time and went to TED.com to explore new videos of some of the best speeches in the world today. If you haven’t been aware of TED before, it stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, starting life as a conference in 1984. It’s now one of the best learning tools for any aspiring speaker. I found a brilliant speech – recently posted – by Amy Cuddy, who is a social scientist at Harvard Business School, and I couldn’t wait to share it with you!

In Amy’s 20 minute speech (most TED talks are about this length), she talks about her recent research into body language, specifically Power Poses, and how we can change other peoples’ perceptions of us, as well as our own body chemistry, by altering our body’s position. The finding is that if you hold specific poses such as standing with your hands on your hips or arms spread above your head, for about 2 minutes, it reduces your stress levels and builds confidence.

Power Pose 1910

This is highly relevant to public speaking of course, and Amy discusses the researchers using a job interview  – a type of public speaking – as part of their research. Her own story is inspiring too (she talks about what she’s had to overcome in the last part of the speech). Here are some quotes from the talk:

” Don’t fake it till you make it. Fake it till you become it.”

“Our bodies change our minds, and our minds can change our behavior, and our behavior can change our outcomes.”

“When we think of nonverbals, we think of how we judge others. … We tend to forget, though, the other audience that’s influenced by our nonverbals: ourselves.”

I really recommend finding the time to watch this talk. The link to Amy’s profile page is here: http://www.ted.com/speakers/amy_cuddy.html where you can click through to the talk.


So the next time you have to present, find a private space or the bathroom, and strike a pose!

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to add a comment below.

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