Legs Wide Open: Climbing to the top of the Corporate Ladder the easy way

               Do you want to increase the chances of getting that next promotion?

               Have you been stuck in a rut in your work and home life and you need to figure out a way to move in a new direction?

               Do you feel like you lack the confidence to navigate social and work circles?

               Well look no further you’ve come to the right place!

A few days ago, Mashable put out a list of their Top 15 Ted Talks that will change your life.Original-Wonder-Woman-Lynda-Carter1

I consistently forget about these nice little talks crammed with generally life relatable information tied up into neat 15-30 minute packages. So thank you to mashable for the reminder. I clicked on the link and scrolled through to see what might be the most life changing for me at the moment.

Then I saw it…

As a person obsessed with body language, I’m surprised I didn’t happen upon Amy Cuddy’s, Your body language shapes who you are, sooner.  The thing is that I’d heard some of the information second hand just a few weeks before discovering the actual talk, but didn’t realize they were one in the same.

Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist, is a professor and researcher at Harvard Business School. A social psychologist is someone who conducts research on human behavior for a living. She gets to analyze “people’s interactions with others and their social environment” on a daily basis – frankly I’m extremely jealous because I pretty much do this on a smaller substandard scale every day with fairly inadequate results.

I’m sure all the ladies out there are wondering right about now how opening their legs is going to lead them to better careers, more confidence, and possibly better social standing. Well first, I think you should listen to the Ted Talk, but if you don’t have 21 minutes of leisure time to get through it, let me summarize.

Most people recognize that body language, also known as non-verbal communication is a language in itself, but do you know how much it’s really effecting your conversation?  The actual words you use during a conversation relate only 7% of your conversation, voice tonality 38% and body language 55%. 55% is huge! If you are having a conversation and your body is saying something other than what you want it to say then what do you think that does in terms how well you are going to do when you are trying to make first impressions, find a new partner, convince a room full of people your idea on a project is worth pursuing, and more?

In order to use non-verbal communication to your advantage you first need to become aware of your own body language!

  • How do you sit? Do you cross your legs or keep them open?
  • How do you stand when talking to new people, friends, business partners, supervisors? What kind of hand gestures do you use? Do you fold your arms, keep them at your sides, make gestures?
  • How much eye contact do you make? Do you make constant eye contact, look away sometimes, look down?

Beyond these, there are other aspects of body language that we are all aware of subconsciously that are the building blocks of how people judge us and decide who moves forward, who stays put, and who moves back.

I don’t actually have time to go through how to change all aspects of your body language since we are here to talk about gaining confidence, but please see: Body language – Great tips to improve our conversation for 18 handy tips on improving and understanding body language.

Open your Legs: Becoming confident in 2 minutes

According to Professor Cuddy, it only takes 2 minutes to boost confidence levels enough through doing a simple pose that you can do almost anywhere to help land you that job! It’s called power posing.

Power Posing is simple. It requires that you open your body up and stretch out your arms and legs.

Here are some classic power pose examples.

body-language-power-pose-2 High-Power-Poses1

Facts about power posing

  • Testosterone increases up to 20% while cortisol (our stress hormone) drops about 10%, giving you both a confidence booth and the ability to deal with a stressful situation. This works for both genders.
  • Power poses come across as more competent and likeable in interviews and presentations.
  • Your brain chemistry could be permanently changed. Professor Cuddy believes and shows that implementing power poses into your daily routine can turn, “Fake it till you make it” into “Fake it till you become it.” You become that person you want to project to your audience.

Why women need this

Women are already socialized to reign in their words and keep opinions to themselves and so if you watch female body language, you’ll often see women’s bodies closed and crossed. Just the act of crossing your legs is enough to close the body off and make the body smaller, while power posing makes the body bigger. Women are often afraid to take up space, which mean women are showing to the world they lack confidence, which I know is not true!

Closing the body off actually does the opposite of power posing in terms of how it affects your brain chemistry:

  • Testosterone decreases by up to 25%, while cortisol increases by 15% making it harder to perform presentations and increases anxiety levels.

It’s not necessary that you spread your legs out wide, but making sure not to cross them all the time is key in helping you actually boost your confidence in any situation.

Can this really help you climb the ladder? It’s all up to how you pursue the ladder. Many women lack the confidence to ask for raises, lead presentations, and are constantly leaning back instead of advancing in their careers. In fact, watch this other Ted Talk by, Sheryl Sandberg, Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders about that.

This two minute exercise might be just the boost you need to get you to that next step in your career.

If you were reading this because you thought perhaps it might help in another arena. A plus side to this is that the slight increase in testosterone may increase libido as well. In any case, it’s worth a shot, so why not start power posing today and start your journey to the top of that ladder!


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