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I admit it I am a Grey’s Anatomy fan. Last week’s show centered around a groundbreaking brain tumour removal surgery being performed by Dr. Amelia Shepard. During her preparation for the surgery, Amelia goes through a number of confidence builders including standing like a superhero for a few minutes. As soon as I saw Amelia do her superhero stance I was intrigued to find out if there was any truth to this practice.
There’s one very important thing that everyone should do before heading into a job interview, giving a big speech or attempting an athletic feat. According to Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist at Harvard Business School, everyone should spend two minutes power posing. What, you ask, is power posing? It is adopting the stances associated with confidence, power and achievement — chest lifted, head held high, arms either up or propped on the hips.
As Cuddy explains in this talk from TEDGlobal 2012, 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. Cuddy wondered—could adopting these postures change a person’s internal state and make them feel more powerful?
Cuddy, along with her collaborator Dana Carney…
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