Strike the Right Pose and Become an Interview Ninja


We might not like to admit it, but we all judge people. And we're quick! Within the first ten seconds of meeting people we form pretty strong -- albeit subconscious -- opinions about a person's character traits like trustworthiness, likability, intelligence, potential for success, and the list goes on. First impressions are big and your body language conveys powerful non-verbal messages about you. (And you thought people only cared about your shoes!)

Amy Cuddy, social psychologist and Associate Professor at Harvard Business School, knows all about this. In her – over 20 million viewed -- TEDTalk, "Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are," she talks at length about these non-verbal expressions and how they can work either to empower or diminish people's perceptions of us. (Big no no's are: crossing your feet at the ankles, touching your face or neck, and the dreaded folding of the arms across your chest.)

She gives great examples of the different ways we carry ourselves physically and what different stances convey. One of the most fascinating parts is her research on what she calls "Power Poses."

Visualize Wonder Woman in all her red, white, and blue bustier glory, with both hands firmly on her hips. This iconic stance is the ultimate power pose.

In fact, research shows that standing in this position, for as little as two minutes, not only makes you feel more confident, but also changes your hormonal levels. Testosterone goes up, while cortisol goes down. You feel powerful and free of stress. Talk about win/win.

Have you thought about your own body language?

How do you navigate professional and social settings? Let's take the interview process for example. Before an interview, most people are nervous. Someone is going to make a judgment call about you that could impact your livelihood. That's stressful!

Before you think about what you're going to say in an interview, think about how you are going to 'be' in that interview. How are you going to show up? Here's a strategy: before leaving your home or even in the quiet confines of the bathroom on site, try physically and mentally prepping yourself for the interview. Banish thoughts of "I'll look ridiculous" right now. Strike the power pose. Set the timer. Remember the research about the boost in testosterone and decrease in cortisol? In just two minutes?

When we feel powerful, we feel more confident.

We also feel present and engaged. Most importantly, we feel like we belong at that interview, and that we're a great candidate. On a larger scale, this energy follows us into how we are perceived in meetings, at parties, and so on.

We all know that our minds can change our bodies, but Cuddy feels strongly that our bodies can also change our minds. She wants us to go further than "Fake it 'til you make it." She wants us to go big and "Fake it 'til you become it."
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