TED Talk: Amy Cuddy – Fake it till you make it.

When Amy Cuddy describes in the talk how her own experience and one of her students was based on being able to fake confidence and being extroverted until they actually transcended to become those individuals, as a viewer- you get a feeling of ‘Meh, that’s not really how it happened, this is definitely drama’ But somewhere in those 17 minutes Amy does hit on some very important points, one of them being that you can feel happy if you just smile.

I have taken on board both these ideas- 1) the one that body language affects physiology and 2) the priming effects on behaviour. Let me tell you why this is so great!

Amy, a professor at Harvard Business School talks about body language and how that leads to how you feel. In her talk, she tells us about her students from one of the most competitive schools in the world. They are a diverse lot and (of course!) each of them is intelligent. But they feel threatened by their peers, because the world of business is often (rightly) presumed to be filled with lions. And so, not everyone is comfortable with being visible and voicing their opinions for fear of sounding a charlatan or worse. Some just prefer to be wallflowers.

This is why Amy’s strategies for trying to appear confident are so effective. I especially liked her ideas regarding how we should de-stress before a job interview. Amy suggests that we ‘prime ourselves’- she doesn’t use those exact words, but that is besides the point. Make yourself big, make yourself comfortable those 5-10 minutes before a job interview and you will much more effective and (likely) successful in the interview. Now, I have been in a stressful interview before and I can completely understand how that would work!

The physiological effects on body language- this one I simply cant get enough of! So I smile more and this makes me happier? Let’s try this… (i am smiling now…) yep- feeling better already. It really works!!
I now smile a fuller smile! No smirks, no casual half-smiles… I full and complete smile. A complete smile makes it easier to deal with emotions and ANY SITUATION! This also makes it easier to fake interest in someone and I genuinely feel better about every interaction. Yes, this sounds a bit like I am cynical about the uses of this fakery… but that really is not something we should get hung up on. The lesson learnt is… ‘Human interactions are about making positive impressions’ That is important and that is what I am going to work on.

So I have written all this and definitely recommend that you 1) watch this video, 2) smile a lot! and 3) make an effort to prime yourself before stressful interactions because that will just make you feel better later.

ta for now!

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