Amy Cuddy, associate professor at Harvard Business School, unearthed some astonishing research on how you can use body language to increase your power and presence as a young, savvy business leader.
Whether you like it or not, your nonverbal actions and presence tell people what to think about you. These cues help your coworkers and other professionals cultivate perceptions about how on top of your game you are.
If you don’t believe me, consider the scenario below that may sound very familiar to you:
Think about the last time you were in a classroom or meeting and you tried to avoid making eye contact with the presenter because you were afraid of being put on the spot. Perhaps you intentionally hung your head in a downward position to indicate that you weren’t interested in being called on to answer a question or participate. Oftentimes in these instances, we shrink ourselves because we don’t know the answer—which means we are powerless.
Now think about your body language when you have the answer. You probably sit upright and you’re sure to lock eyes with the presenter so you can be called upon. At this point, you’re exuding your power.
Having said that, your power and confidence levels are noticed throughout your daily interactions in the office and while you’re out in the field trying to make boss moves.
According to Professor Cuddy, powerful people are more assertive, confident, and optimistic. They also take more risks, perform better, respond to stress better, have more motivation, and do better at maximizing their performance. Consequently, they tend to be viewed as high performers and indispensable power players.
People can sense when you are at your weak and powerless moments. However, if you want to be recognized as a power player then you need to exhibit “power poses.” Stop walking around with your head down and slouching in your chair.
- Smile often and make eye contact
- Stand and walk upright
- Give firm handshakes to demonstrate that you’re ready to unleash your power as a bonafide power player
If you want to learn more about “power posing” characteristics and the hard science that supports this research watch the TED video can be viewed here.
Antoine Moss, Ph.D., (@2PositiveTweets) is a nationally recognized resource on internships, early career achievement, leadership and motivation. CEO and founder of CEO Style Consulting L.L.C., Moss empowers professionals and organizations to reach their full potential, and serves as speaker, workshop instructor and consultant. The author of Learn to Intern CEO Style, Moss has been a featured expert on outlets including Fox 8 TV News and George Fraser’s 2011 Power Networking Conference.