Stand tall and if necessary ‘fake it till you make it’

For several years, when teaching presenting, I have been asking people to stand when they present and to adopt ‘high power’ body positions and avoid low power positions, for example not crossing your arms and legs, and not standing sideways on to the audience.

I arrived at this advice based on my own observations, tips from other trainers, and by applying learning from other fields – but there was limited, specific evidence for what I was saying.

However, I no longer need to rely on my homespun theories. Kristin Luck (a great presenter in her own right) has highlighted Amy Cuddy to me. Watch the video below, Amy Cuddy at TED, and you will understand the extent to which how you stand impacts a) how the audience receive your message, and b) the way you feel.

The ‘fake it till you make’ it part has two elements. Firstly, standing in a power position changes the chemicals in your brain to make you more confident, even though you are ‘pretending’ to be confident. Over time, you will change and you won’t be faking it. So faking it till you make it means getting a benefit in the short term and changing yourself in the mid-term.

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