Whether we like it or not, first impressions matter. We all make quick assumptions about people from the first few seconds of an interaction –
sometimes without even realising what we’ve judged them on.
Our words are fairly easy to control so that we come across friendly, approachable and relatable. However, our body language can be something we’re very unaware of and often lets us down. It can be so subconscious that even though we feel we’re coming across authentically and enthusiastically, it doesn’t appear so to the person we’re conversing with.
What Do People Subconsciously Look For in an Initial Interaction?
It’s such a natural process that we don’t really think about what we’re looking for in a new acquaintance. But the two main questions that cross our minds are: is this person trustworthy? and can I respect you?
Whether the situation is meeting a new potential friend, getting up on stage and making a speech, or a job interview, as humans, we make an initial judgement of that person based on these two criteria and a lot of it is based on how our body language gives us away.
How we feel on the inside is portrayed externally and often if we’re nervous, apprehensive or feeling insecure for any reason, we tend to contract or collapse our body. This is picked up on by others as us having a lack of confidence and being less trustworthy.
Power Posing: The Key to Portraying Confidence and Trustworthiness
When we feel powerful we naturally expand our bodies. Think of how your body language is when you win a race – you would most likely throw your hands in the air. Superheroes adopt a ‘power pose’ with hands on their hips and legs apart – the epitome of confidence and power.
Amy Cuddy has looked into a plethora of research  into how power posing can increase our confidence in nerve-wracking and stressful situations. She found that the way we use our bodies can have a huge psychological affect on our confidence. By knowing this, we can help train our bodies and minds to help us appear more confident.
Although expanded, open body language is recommended when making a good first impression, this doesn’t mean power posing during an interaction. Instead it’s about spending a few minutes in front of a mirror beforehand practicing your superhero stance and expanding your body. This has proven to increase testosterone and therefore increase the feelings of power and confidence.
So it’s not about faking it until you make it. By practicing these poses you are psychologically changing your feelings and mindset in order to believe in yourself more.
The Best Power Poses to Embrace for Confidence
So you know you tend to feel nervous when talking to a particular person or you’re about to enter a job interview. What are the best poses to adopt before you enter into the interaction?
The Hands on Hips Pose
This is one of the best poses you can do to make you feel powerful. Standing with your hands on your hips with your legs apart can instantly make you feel in control. Doing this for a couple of minutes either in front of the mirror or in the bathroom before an interview can help you get into the mindset of confidence and realising your capabilities.
The Strong Arms Pose
This is a pose that psychologically invokes strength and power. If we enter into an interaction feeling strong we can get rid of any insecurities and feelings of powerlessness. It strengthens the belief in ourselves and this will come across to the other person as confidence.
The Winner Pose
Feeling like we’re winning is one of the best feelings we can have. Imagine a time when you’ve achieved something big. By adopting this pose, our minds can take us back to these positive emotions. If we feel like we’re winning before we even enter into a conversation with someone, you have already set the tone and often the positive outcome that comes with it.
The Legs Up, Arms Open Pose
This pose may look laid-back and relaxed but don’t underestimate the power in this. It allows the mind to believe ‘you’ve got this’ which is a way of increasing the power and confidence within you. Opening your body language also trains and reminds the body to continue this throughout the interactions you have.
Most of how we come across to others is down to our mindset and beliefs. The way we pose our bodies can go leaps and bounds towards changing negative beliefs and thoughts about ourselves and raise our confidence and optimism. In turn, the people we interact with will consciously or even subconsciously pick up on this. Give it a go and see for yourself!