Body Language: Communicating with Your Audience and Yourself

As we round the corner into week 9 (yikes!), multiple professors have been dedicating significant time to the do’s and don’ts for our looming final presentations.

Elisha Hartwig of Mashable compiled a list of 15 TED talks that will change your life, which includes my personal favorite at #5: Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are by Amy Cuddy.

We are told countless times throughout our lives about the importance of body language, and the message that non-verbal communication sends: whether you are engaged, interested, and confident (or if you really aren’t) can be judged pretty accurately by how you carry yourself.

But in this TED talk, Cuddy details the importance of body language not just in fooling your audience into believing you are confident, but tricking your own body as well. Literally by opening yourself up and hitting a few “power poses” you can trick your body into feeling a sense of calm and increase self-confidence. “Fake it til you make it” seems pretty fitting, no?

This past summer, I had an amazing opportunity to participate in the Fred Meyer Summer Internship Program with 20 other college students from the PNW. After spending a couple months in the Marketing Department of Fred Meyer Jewelers, my experience led to a formal presentation in front of a very large crowd of Fred Meyer employees: I had 5 minutes to convince a conference room full of people about the significance of my contribution to the company. No biggie.

No biggie? HUGE biggie. This was certainly an awesome and unique opportunity, but it was also super intimidating and terrifying. So I wanted to be sure that I did an excellent job.

During our rehearsal, the internship coordinator had us watch Cuddy’s TED Talk. And she actually made us strike a “power pose” ( that was incredibly awkward, I might add) for several minutes before the big event. My fellow interns and I felt ridiculous. But our presentations went well, and we all felt pretty good about our performance. Did these power poses really have an impact? Amy Cuddy would say so.

As someone who gets butterflies regardless of how prepared I feel, anything helps. So if standing big, strong and confident for a couple minutes can physiologically trick my brain out of being nervous? I’m all over it.

Side note: Jessica’s daily affirmation works well for improving self-confidence too. Plus she’s adorable.

 

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