I have just viewed a fascinating TED talk delivered by Amy Cuddy, a professor at the Harvard Business School where she studies non-verbal behavior and how posture can impact the testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain which in turn affect our level of confidence and the way other people perceive us, two factors that play an enormous role in our performance effectiveness.
Amy’s research and recommendation is very important in my view. For many years personal development gurus have suggested that there is a very strong correlation between how a person carries him or herself and personal success. Rightly or wrongly, I have always interpreted their argument to mean when you feel down or beaten you will tend to reflect that feeling in your body posture – rounded shoulder, arms close to your side, head and eyes down etc.
The idea that posture is this consequence of feeling is turned on its head by Amy. She suggests, and provides some preliminary laboratory research to support her assertion, that posture can actually cause a change in feeling by influencing your testosterone (the power hormone) and cortisol (the stress hormone) levels in your brain.
What is really interesting about this research to me is its relationship to event rehearsals that I have been recommending you do in your mind before every important (sales) meeting with a client or prospect. If you have been to a Bootcamp or one of my presentations on professional selling you will recall, I hope, my suggestion that before you conduct an initial consultation you rehearse in your mind how it will play out and do so with a power posture. Take a look at this 20 minute video to see how the science supports this idea.