Big Body Language: the Theory

Amy Cuddy is the inspiration for this Chutzpah Intervention.

A brief synopsis of the relevant research:

Her latest research illuminates how “faking” body postures that convey competence and power (“power posing”) – even for as little as two minutes — changes our testosterone and cortisol levels, increases our appetite for risk, causes us to perform better in job interviews, and generally configures our brains to cope well in stressful situations. In short, as David Brooks summarized the findings, “If you act powerfully, you will begin to think powerfully.”

And her TED talk, with a somewhat moving ending.

Her research was actually to have subjects assume “big body language” poses for two minutes prior to an interview or some other high-value situation.  Those who struck the poses “scored higher” (kudos from the interviewer, job offers, whatever) than the control group.

For my purposes, I’ve adapted this idea to have two minutes of Big Body Language every morning.  Which I’ve been doing for the eight days of February so far.

Professor Cuddy studies Any pose that expands your body territory is legit: hiking out arms and legs, standing with hands on hips and legs spread (the “Wonder Woman” pose, as Cuddy calls it).

The photos here show Sarkozy looking Big while Merkel looks Small.  Her head is tucked in on the right, her hand beneath Sarkozy’s.  His hand is extended toward her, impinging past “neutral” space, as does his exuberant hug on the left versus her vague gesture of fending him off.

This power pose, called

Of course, no Big Body Language photo shoot would be complete without the Master.

Results?  Nothing much so far, but the month is young.

Next I will start using Big Body Language in meetings, expanding out my space instead of tucking in to accommodate others.

Stay tuned…

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