A fantastic talk by social psychologist Amy Cuddy about how our body language not only influences how we are perceived by others, but how we perceive ourselves. (Click here if you can’t see the video below).
Pretty much all of us form judgements or inferences on others based on their body language or, as Dr. Cuddy calls it, “non-verbal communication.” But there seems to be evidence that forcibly changing our body language can influence how we think and feel about ourselves.
In one of Dr. Cuddy’s experiments, subjects were divided into two groups who were both going to be subjected to a grueling and stressful job interview situation. Before the interview, one group was asked to assume “powerful” body poses for just two minutes, while the others were asked to make submissive poses.
The video recordings of the interviews were played to recruiters, who overwhelmingly evaluated the group who had assumed powerful postures more positively than the other group. The interesting thing is that their decisions were less about the content of the candidate’s responses, but the presence that the evaluators felt the interviewees were bringing. The candidates were felt to be more authentic, more comfortable, more enthusiastic, etc. – even when what they actually said was judged to be no better than the “submissive” group.
Initially, Dr. Cuddy calls this “Fake It Until You Make It”. The conscious adoption of mannerisms and postures in the short term, that eventually go on to change the way that we feel. However, she ultimately modifies this to “Fake It Until You Become It.” Internalizing the mannerisms to the point of self-realization that you’re no longer feeling like you’re putting on an act: This is who you are.
Business Value: Faking It Until It’s TrueI’ve lost count of the number of people I’ve spoken to who tell me that they feel that their business “isn’t good enough” to compete with the competition. That their product/service doesn’t stand up against the others. That they feel that they’re being a fraud.
If this sounds like you, I have a secret that I’d like to share with you: Almost everyone else feels the same way.
Moreover if you can’t be genuinely passionate and enthusiastic about your product or service, then how can you reasonably expect anyone else to be?