by Rachel Vilsack
We know that body language is important to how people see us, but did you know that it can even shape how we think about ourselves?
Dr. Amy Cuddy at the Harvard Business School investigated the topic of “power poses” in depth, especially as it relates to how we perceive ourselves in business environments. (Watch her presentation in a popular TED talk from 2012.) Her findings show that just two minutes a day of power posing – like placing your hands on your hips or reclining in a chair with your hands clasped behind your head – helps us to not only appear more confident, but also act more powerful and in charge. Why? Power poses release chemicals in our brain that increase the feeling of power and lower stress.
If you feel nervous in a job interview, these findings could help. “People often are more influenced by how they feel about you than by what you’re saying,” Dr. Cuddy says. She explains (pdf) that we make judgments about a person’s intentions and capability – or to put it another way, their warmth and competence – often based on stereotypes. It could lead managers to “undervalue a potentially important connection with someone.”
Changing your body language could signal to an employer in a job interview that you are capable for the job before you even answer a single question!