Becoming Wonder Woman – Unlocking the Art of Body Language

Can faking it till you make it really change your actual sense of power and confidence?

Tonight I came across a TED Talk by Amy Cuddy surrounding the topic of body language and its effect on individuals’ lives and their ability to control their life’s direction.

As a budding young professional, body language is an essential part of the communication skill set I need to be successful in my career. However, I did not realize that by changing your body language for a mere 2 minutes, I could possibly alter my mindset and emotional state just through portraying a more “confident” and powerful persona.

All too often I have found myself curling inward and making my body appear small when I am faced with situations where I feel powerless, uncomfortable or ill-prepared. Presently, these occasions often are during presentations, talks and sorority recruitment events. Through Amy’s talk, I learned that these hunching movements can actually impede your ability to make a successful first impression and portray your real self in situations like job interviews or speeches.

Amy Cuddy posed this question: “Do nonverbals [communication] govern how we think and feel about ourselves?” In essence, I think that they play an extremely important role in the cultivation of confidence and power assertion. Amy Cuddy discussed the fact that power stances, both powerful and non-powerful, can impact the body on a hormonal level. This hormonal change causes a shift in the balance of cortisol (the stress hormone) and testoterone (the dominance hormone) to the point where a person’s emotions can become charged with powerful or powerless thoughts and expressions. Those who feel/are more powerful in situations exhibit less stress hormone concentrations and higher dominance concentrations. These people, Cuddy argued, are more successful as leaders and are also more stable and reliable. In contrast, powerless people exhibit higher stress-reaction but less dominance hormones and feel more uneasy in powerful positions if they feel like they don’t belong in a leadership position.

This TED talk has encouraged me to take a back seat to my life in times of stress or uncertainty and reconsider how I am approaching these situations. I will do my best to assess my body language, posture, and emotions surrounding job interviews, speeches and the like to reevaluate them. From doing this, I will try to catch myself when I am feeling powerless, take a deep breath, and engage in a power stance for a few moments. I hope to practice power stances to enhance my confidence and ability to succeed in new situations, places and groups.

I want to become wonder woman. To do this, I need to give myself the easiest confidence boost the body can provide: body language. Who knew that body language could harness such super powers and provide confidence and power to people just from placing your body in a certain position. Body language surely is an art, and I am excited to delve into its science and unlock more of its mysteries.

If you are looking for more awesome, thought-provoking videos, hit up TED.com for ideas to challenge the way you think and share with others in your community!