Haris Ahmed, Chicago Consultant on Power Posing
Haris Ahmed (Chicago) management consulting firm Pragmatium Consulting Group Inc. has helped hundreds of individuals overcome their fear of public speaking. Read his blog below about the merits of power posing:
A little over four years ago, one of the most watched TED Talks was given by a social psychologist. The topic? How body language can shape who you are. Amy Cuddy argued about the benefits of “power posing” and since then, scientists and researchers have set out to debunk or prove her claims with science.
As someone who has made a career out of public speaking, I believe the science behind power posing is not nearly as important as its effectiveness when practiced by people. As an art form, there is no right way to master public speaking in the first place, which means to say that what might work for one person may not with another. And if it happens that power posing works for a speaker, whether up on stage or to pump him/herself up before he/she steps on the platform, then power posing, by all means, should continue to be part of one’s routine.
The arguments presented in the TED Talk about power posing are not all that new to public speakers. For instance, we’ve long known that body language plays an important role. We know that body language runs risk of sending off the wrong signals, which can make a presentation less engaging or compelling to the audience. Perhaps the biggest takeaway about Cuddy’s talk on posing is the emphasis on how it makes speakers feel towards themselves.
Do You Feel Confident?
Practically every public speaking coach will broach the topic about confidence – when you’re confident, it shows, in the way you talk, the way you respond, the way you stand, and every other little thing. Suddenly, it seems like you can say the right things; you get the comedic timing right, and the audience is listening and engaging right with you – everything’s going better than planned! Unfortunately, not everyone is able to access this confidence when they most need it, and this is where power posing can provide the biggest boost, regardless of what the science says.
If you’ve never heard about power posing, you may want to look up and watch the TED Talk given by Amy Cuddy. It’s the second most watched TED Talk to date so there are sure to be copies of it available online. Cuddy suggests that people adopt an expansive posture, which can generate that feeling of power. By extension, when you feel powerful, you’re bound to feel a burst of confidence.
The science of power posing is fascinating and I believe researchers have only scratched the surface of the link between mind and body. In the case of public speakers, until a definitive conclusion is made, there’s little harm in continuing to do such power poses, if only to help them give the best presentation in their life.
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