The power pose: improve your presentation and pitch in two minutes

Amy Cuddy, Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, presents her research on the impact of power poses and how they affect hormone levels, and your personal presence in high-pressure situations


- Assess your posture. How are you sitting now? Is your body language open or closed? How might you 'take up more space' to assert yourself calmly and confidently, both in this moment or giving a presentation, chairing a meeting or at an interview?
- Think of someone you know who looks confident and has 'presence' in a room, either socially or professionally. What is it about the way they gesture, sit, stand, lean, smile or physically engage with others that makes them come across as at ease?
- How do you normally behave in the day, hour and minute before an interview, presentation or meeting? How could this be made to be more productive and allow you to be your best self when you arrive at the event?
- Write down some previous occasions where you have felt your body's physical reaction overwhelm your psychological and rational approach to a situation. If you were unable to relax physically or establish your presence confidently in the room through body language, how did this sensation make you think differently about the situation? If you were able to calm your nerves through your body, what did you do to achieve this? Were you more active, or more inactive, in order to feel confident?
- Think about ways in which you might apply Cuddy's theory of taking up space and physical assertiveness in your daily life that can help you to feel confident, relaxed and heard in the room.
- Go to a mirror and stand in the power pose. Positively visualise your cortisol decreasing, and your testosterone increasing, like in the graphs in her presentation.
- Write down a few phrases or words describing how you feel after two minutes. Do you feel calmer, more in control, more at ease, stronger on your feet? If not yet, don't worry and be patient
- Try the method out in future stressful situations, before important occasions or even just before work in the morning, and see how it can help you to feel grounded, present and confident


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