While channeling your inner red-carpet diva for work might seem counterintuitive, it could actually be a great way to snag your next promotion. No, this doesn’t mean you should start lobbing champagne bottles at your boss’ head. This trick isn’t about being arrogant at work. It’s about being confident.
Body language expert and Harvard professor Amy Cuddy has spread the message of the super-confident “Power Pose” through her hugely popular TED Talk on body language, which has received almost 30 million views. In her book, Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges, Cuddy explains that scientists have found that someone’s outward confidence can be a useful indicator of whether or not they will land a job or strike a deal. “In studies of entrepreneurs, this quality predicts drive, willingness to work hard, initiative, persistence in the face of obstacles, enhanced mental capacity, creativity and the ability to identify good opportunities and novel ideas,” Cuddy writes.
And of course, we look for confidence as an indicator of these things because confidence can’t be faked. When you are confident, you sound confident. Fear can tighten up your vocal chords and squash the enthusiasm in your voice.
But as Cuddy and any celebrity can tell you, confident body language can be faked. You don’t actually have to feel as confident as Jennifer Lawrence or Beyonce when they put their hands on their hips, elbows out, showing off which designer they’re wearing on the red carpet — what Cuddy has dubbed the “Wonder Woman” pose. Research has shown that when you fake confident body language, it gives you a boost of real confidence. How does this work? By expanding your body into a high-power pose, you raise your levels of testosterone, which creates a surge of confidence. It also lowers cortisol, the chemical linked to stress.
So although you can’t fake confidence, you can nudge it along by changing how you carry yourself physically. Next time you need a boost of courage at work, pretend like you’re on the red carpet.
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