Just finished reading the book "Presence" by Amy Cuddy. Practically written upon the base of sound academic research and knowledge, Cuddy manages to clearly and succinctly lead the reader into the world of "Presence"; so much so that it is becoming an entity in its own right.
Presence is about harnessing confidence and poise. How do you carry yourself? How does that make you feel? How do you think others see you? The first few chapters are all about harnessing this presence and believing your own story.
This is one of many profound insights Cuddy presents about how we can use our physiology (our bodies) to increase our power and presence.
There seems to be what researchers refer to as a “bidirectional” relationship between feeling and behavior: when you feel powerful, you expand your body, and when you expand your body, you feel powerful.
Bottom line: Expanding your body language, or carrying yourself in a more expansive way can actually make you feel more powerful.
"…the smaller the device, the more we must contract our bodies to use it, and the more time we spend in these shrunken, inward postures, the more powerless we feel. Our findings uncover a cruel irony: while many of us spend hours everyday working on small mobile devices, often with the goal of increasing our productivity and efficiency, interacting with these tiny objects, even for short periods of time, might reduce assertiveness, potentially undermining our productivity and efficiency. If you must spend long stretches in front of a screen, which many of us do, be sure to choose a device carefully and configure your space to allow for the most upright and expansive posture.”
Go to your local coffee shop on a busy day, and you’ll probably find 80% of people hunched over their tiny little smart phone screen.
Regardless of whether they do it while they’re sitting or standing, this hunching-over-screen habit is NOT contributing to their sense of presence.
In fact, it’s impairing their ability to expand, thus contributing to powerlessness.
It’s actually quite obvious when we think about it: hunching down at a smart phone screen produces an inward stance; when what we’re really looking for is an expansive stance.
If you’re looking to cultivate more presence, power, and a sense of genuinely connected with other people, then stop hunching over and tapping away at your smart phone all day long. And start being more present by putting away the smart phone, straightening out your posture, and expanding your stance a little more often.
The tips, studies and facts around positive poses and presence really resonated with me. If you really liked what you read so far, you should get the book.