Fake it till you make it!

Curium | 12 Sep 2013 | News | Sustain Change

A promising young leader stood in front of a senior team to give a short presentation. No sooner had she started talking her knees were visibly shaking, her voice wobbled and the redness grew in her face and neck.


A promising young leader.


Eight weeks later the same leader stood in front of a group of 20 people and kicked off an 8 hour workshop on mind-set strategies, behavioural profiling and leadership showtime moments. The audience were wowed: ‘motivating, inspiring, she was exceptional’


An accomplished young leader.


This was someone I had the pleasure of working with over the past few months, watching her develop and then impress the people around her who have worked alongside for years. They didn’t see it coming.


Of the 6 strategies we used, here is one you can try now. It takes two minutes.


The mind body link


We know that the body follows the mind. A quick exercise – ask anyone to get themselves into a state of absolute boredom; now ask them to get into a state of absolutely alertness. Even though you didn’t tell them to move they cannot help but adjust various components of their body language: posture, gesture, internal energy levels…


In the same way that the body follows the mind, the mind also follows the body.


Get yourself into a stance of complete confidence and guess what, within 2 minutes your mental state and biology will follow.  This is just one of the techniques we used, and it is effective beyond any initial presupposition you may have.


I then discovered a study conducted by Amy Cuddy, a social scientist in the US, who has demonstrated that not only does your mind follow your body in terms of state, your hormone production  also follows suit. In her experiment, sitting in a ‘powerful position’ for only 2 minutes significantly impacted the level of cortisol (stress hormone) produced in the body, reducing it by 25%. Alternatively sitting in a vulnerable position increased it by over 15%.


A difference of 40% in only 2 minutes.


Next time you are in a stressful situation, sat waiting for an interview; or preparing to give a presentation; let you body language take care of the nerves. Adopt a stance of absolute confidence and your state and biology will follow. As Cuddy puts it..Fake it till you make it.


See Cuddy’s talk here: http://on.ted.com/Cuddy

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