To Power Pose or Not to Power Pose

power pose or not for speakers

The results have been out for some time which ‘debunk’ Amy Cuddy’s famous TED talk and the effects of the power pose: assuming dominant positions to increase confidence, etc.

I have been a proponent of assuming a confident position long before Cuddy’s talk went viral, for several reasons, and not so much from the point of view of Amy’s study that the poses themselves increase confidence and impact others, but more so from the point of view: fake it til you make it.

Let me explain why assuming some sort of power behavior is necessary for Emerging Speakers.

Emerging Speakers by very definition, are ‘undiscovered, unheard of, gems’.  Some like diamonds in the rough, others like rebels without a cause or country, but all needing some kind of edge to boost their development, star power, and exposure.

Many, if not most, of the Emerging Speakers that grace through our platforms, start out from a less than confident position. Literally.  Like sharp white lint on a sweater under black lights, or neon paint. Partly nerves, partly an esteem issue (either a little too high, or a little too low), and partly inexperience. (Self included.) Every doubt shines through like a light house beacon with every body movement, the choice of language / variety / pace, and the final delivery on stage. That lack of confidence and self doubt pulls  attention from your message ‘for the audience’, to attention to ‘you’.  Your job as a speaker is making the presentation about the audience, creating a change in state for them or taking them on a journey.

It has been my experience that when an emerging speaker finds what works to psych themselves up so they can bring the right audience-focused energy to the stage, it is typically a highly effective form of power posing or other stances or movements. All your ‘biggies’ have some form of power ritual before they speak, from Robbins, to Brown, to Winfrey, to Gaga – you name the person.  No matter their skill level, they know their ‘performance’ is for the ultimate benefit for the audience, and they need something to get them ‘out of their head’ and into one of focus and energy.

Sure – to ‘power pose’ without a corresponding mindset or goal, or to assume the pose alone will hormone you up to success is foolish.  Everyone should have expected that outcome even before it was debunked. (as pretty much any big research has been of late from food that’s good for you that’s now bad, to child rearing that was good but is now bad).  It’s important to look beyond the research  to the intuitive uses and purpose of something. The brain is a pretty powerful tool and likes the influence of the power of suggestion.  Works for athletes – why not speakers?

As Emerging Speakers who are serious about rising to the next level, it’s important to id, uncover, and use those things that will give you an edge.  As an introvert myself, and knowing that the goal of my speaking was to ultimately reward an audience member’s investment of time in listening to me, power posing as a key part of my pre-event ‘ritual’ became a beneficial and powerful tool for me.  One that definitely impacted my results and success, and one that I still continue to recommend, because it still works for me.

Power posing is about doing what you need to get your confidence and energy up, so you can ‘act as if’ you are already that highly paid, much in demand speaker. (and p.s. even if that power pose includes wearing your favorite super power undies, you do ‘whatever it takes’ to give you a confidence edge).

Whatever it takes. Just like it says on my David Bowie mug:

whatever it takes david bowie mug

What have you found that works for you? Do you have any pre-event ‘rituals’ or poses? Post below in the comments and let us know.

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