Last night I watched a Ted Talk on the effect non-verbal communication has on yourself, and others. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy has done experiments showing how doing high or low power poses for 2 minutes affected not only our testosterone levels, but also our cortisol levels. Cortisol is the hormone associated with how we react to stress.
When subjects did 2 minutes of high power poses, it raised their testosterone and lowered their cortisol. This essentially wires the brain to be assertive but also to keep a cool head under pressure. When subjects did low power poses for two minutes, they decreased their testosterone, and increased their cortisol. This essentially wires the brain to be timid and lose its cool under pressure. In other words, these are the people who don’t handle stress well.
Now imagine walking into an interview. Have you been on your phone sitting all closed up while in low power poses in the waiting room? You might be the best interviewer on the planet, but you are setting your brain up to show the less desirable side of you.
Amy Cuddy actually ran an experiment testing this where they had subjects do these low or high power poses and then go through a stressful job interview. The interviewers were trained to give no nonverbal feedback whatsoever. This is supposed to be more stressful than getting heckled. The idea here was to try to test the stress level and see what happens to the cortisol levels in the body.
What’s really interesting is that at the end of the study, regardless of qualifications and what was said during the interview, the double blind reviewers who didn’t even know what was being tested, determined that the subjects that did high power poses were desirable to hire and the low power poses were passed on.
Now Amy Cuddy didn’t stop there, she wanted to see how large this thing scaled. She initially felt unworthy of a lot of the success she was having in her young career and was afraid to do things like public speaking. She felt timid and stressed out and as if she didn’t belong. She was initially wary of this idea of “wiring your brain” differently to go into a situation. She felt it was fake or just not genuine, and didn’t want to get somewhere in life only to realize she faked the whole journey and maybe the end result isn’t really what she wanted. Instead, Amy says she was able to “fake it until [she] became it.” So now she doesn’t have to fake being dominant and level headed. Doing all those 2 minute high power poses actually changed the hormone levels so she no longer has to fake it.
Now I know that one study doesn’t prove anything but I think it would be foolish to ignore the results. I highly recommend watching the quick talk and making your own judgment. If all it takes is 2 minutes and some private space, this is an affordable life hack that everyone can use.
Watch Here: Amy Cuddy Ted Talk