Power Poses: My Good Luck Charm

Stand tall with your hands on your hips! Or, flex your muscles! Do whatever pose makes you feel powerful for a few minutes.

 Two upstate New Yorkers share how these “power poses” might have boosted their confidence. You can also visit ExcellusBCBS.com/LiveFearlessNation for more on how to make small changes for a healthier life – one fearless step at a time.

Wonder Woman Gets Me Through

By Elaina Mancuso

When I first learned about power posing, I was baffled. I did yoga before, but that was for relaxation, not to pump myself up. Could standing big, outstretched, and breathing deeply boost my confidence, too?

I gave it a try at my desk after my friend Lynn and I talked about it and sent me a link to the TED Talk. (BTW – since the Ted Talk, the science behind power poses has been hotly debated.)

Elaina strikes a power pose at her desk.

She took me through the ropes. The Wonder Woman pose. Feet on my desk and hands behind my head. I think we even practiced the V for victory pose. I didn’t feel the effects that day—I was simply testing it out. But the concept stuck with me for months, all the way up to an anxiety-inducing presentation.

My presentation was one of many that day—sales training. I thought back to the conversation with Lynn and the TED Talk I had watched and I gave it a go, this time for real.

My presentation was after lunch, so while everyone was finishing their meals, I stepped out of the room and into the hallway. I walked around a little bit to calm my nerves, then found the perfect spot to strike my pose. I coached myself through it: “Okay. Hands on hips. Feet hip- length apart. Big, controlled, deep breaths. In and out. This is kind of like yoga. Oh my god, I’m power posing. You’ve got this. You’re gonna rock this presentation.”

After my minute or two I walked back into the room and took it away.

Not only was I feeling calmer, I felt more at ease with the material and the audience. I felt more natural and relaxed—like a better version of myself—and was able to get through my presentation without a hitch.

But I can’t give power posing all the credit. I’ve got to chalk up some of my success to preparation and practice. I also realize that power posing might not work for everyone, and that there may (or may not) be science to back up its effects.

Still, power posing worked for me. It was my good luck charm and I’m going to leverage its effects before every presentation.

Power posing your way to a new job

By Lindsay Speicher

Lindsay Speicher

When I first heard of power posing, I honestly thought it seemed a little trite and cliché. My attitude toward the idea changed, however, when this past year I landed several interviews for a job I really, really wanted.

Nothing is more frustrating than being prepared, really knowing your stuff, and then having it go out the window when it’s time to present because you’re nervous and insecure.

When I’ve had this happen in the past, it’s because I’m (1) too anxious during an interview to really articulate the smart things I have to say, or (2) thrown off my game by the dreaded “imposter syndrome.” That’s when I think, “there is probably someone who is stronger, better, faster and smarter than me waiting in the wings right now, who would be 10 times better at this than me … and it’s only a matter of time before everyone finds out!”

Not very helpful thoughts to have when you’re trying to present the best version of yourself to a prospective employer!

With my interviews fast approaching, I wanted to be certain my nervousness wouldn’t hinder my confidence, and subsequently, my performance.

I consulted the internet-career-advice-universe, and I found interview tips that went something like: prepare, practice, reflect, and relax. Several articles even referenced “power posing,” and how useful it could be for the “relax” portion of the pre-interview prep, which I needed the most help with. I finally decided to watch the TED Talk and see what it was about.

The science behind “power posing” has been debated, but I deemed Amy Cuddy’s presentation a compelling case for trying it out. Even if the study was dead wrong, or if I was immune to the “magic” of “power posing,” what could it hurt? Trying it out was totally risk free, so I added power poses to my interview day plan.

Here’s how I did it

 Before any big presentation, interview, speech – whatever — most of us head into the bathroom to freshen up and take a minute to get composed. Enter “power posing!” Once I arrived at the company and checked in, I stepped into a stall, struck my pose, and gave it as long as I could.

Lindsay finds the perfect place to freshen up and get composed.

I stretched out my arms in a big V, puffed out my chest, and took some deep breaths.  I was grateful no one else was in the bathroom, otherwise they might have seen my outstretched hands above the stall door, which would have totally thrown me off. I kept it up for what seemed like forever, but was probably just about a minute.

So did it work?

I “power posed” before each of my three in-person interviews and my phone interview. Each time, I walked out feeling like I gave it my absolute best. As an interviewee, you really can’t ask for more than that. Was it the “power posing”? Maybe! Did I feel more confident, focused, and able to be myself in the interviews? Yes!  I’ll honestly never know whether it was the power posing or something else, but I got the job, so I know it didn’t hurt!

Would I recommend it? Sure! My advice to fellow nervous presenters, interviewees, speechmakers, etc.:  breathe deep, regroup, remember you know your stuff, and strike a “power pose!”

Erika Gruszewski

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