Fake it Until You Become It - Amy Cuddy Summary

Jul 23, 2013 -

Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are

Non-verbal communication is just as important as verbal communication. In fact it may be even more important. Amy Cuddy, a professor at Harvard Business School, argues that controlling your body language will change your body's chemistry, which ultimately affects how you feel at any point in time. Yes, you can control how you feel.

Power Pose vs. Low Power Pose

Amy brings up two categories of poses. There is the "power pose" and the "low power pose". The "power pose" is a position you assume when you feel confident. If you are standing up you might have your chin-up, head held high, chest up, and arms raised. If you are sitting down you might have your hands behind your head and elbows pointing forward.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the "low power pose", suggests that you are feeling helpless or defensive. One of the weakest poses is when you are sitting down and start touching your neck. That is a sign you are "protecting yourself".

Make a Conscious Change in Your Body Language

Most of these poses are done unconsciously. Unless you are actively looking at yourself to determine whether or not you are doing a "power pose" or a "low power pose", you probably never really noticed. Now that you will start to notice these poses, it's important to know that you can use them to your advantage.

Take a moment right now and look at what pose you are doing and compare that with how you are feeling. If you are hunched over, try to sit up straight. See how that feels. 

Another interesting tidbit is that "power poses" and "low power poses" tend to compliment each other. This means if you have your hands to your sides and chest up, the person you are having a conversation with may have his or her hands in a low power pose position. The next time you speak to someone, notice their posture and body language. Are they in a "power pose" or "low power pose"?

The next time you are in an interview setting, enact the power pose. A study suggested that non-partial judges who viewed those with high power poses were more likely to be hired. It wasn't so much what they said, it was their postures and presence that the judges were convinced with.


This all boils down to being confident. If you aren't confident in a certain situation, you can set your body in a confident stance. It works with smiling and it works with your body language. "Forcing" a smile activates muscles that activates positive signals in the brain. Similarly, confident body language triggers receptors in the brain and makes you feel more confident. The idea is to consciously think about making a change into becoming more confident until it becomes natural. In other words, fake it until you become it.

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