Since appearing onstage at a TED Talk in 2012, social psychologist Amy Cuddy has soared to celebrity status with her presentation about "power posing."
In 2015 Cuddy became a best-selling author with her book "Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges." More than 43 million people have viewed her TED Talk and speakers and coaches (including me) have referenced her research on how to use posture to position ourselves as authoritative and powerful.
While her research has been challenged, the premise of the book is rock solid: when we show up as powerful in stature, people respond. Whether it's through a pumped-up volume of testosterone and a dip in cortisol or just mind over matter, the physical act of taking up space yields results. In Presence, Cuddy provides ideas, recommendations and case studies demonstrating that how we hold ourselves, particularly before a stressful event, can positively impact the outcome of job interviews, speeches, business negotiations and even personal relationships.
One of the most moving stories in the book is Cuddy's confession about how "impostor syndrome" almost derailed her during college. Impostor syndrome is incredibly common among accomplished professionals who feel they've "put one over" on the system, and at any moment they'll be exposed as frauds. I once had a client, a brilliant businesswoman, who got into graduate school at Northwestern in spite of a tepid undergraduate GPA -- she told me she was waiting to be "busted" by the campus police! In "Presence," the author shares ways to manage this syndrome, aligning our personal and professional power with how we want to be perceived by the world.
Although Cuddy's "fake it until you become it" research may be under siege (by jealous colleagues, in my humble opinion), the tsunami of support for her and her message of empowerment is indisputable.
Try it yourself: stand like Wonder Woman or Superman before your next big presentation. You'll show up as the superhero you really are.
• Vickie Austin is a business and career coach, professional speaker and author of "Circles of Gold: Honoring Your Network for Business and Career Success." She hosts "Biz Books Review" the third Tuesday of every month at the Wheaton Public Library. You can visit her website at choicesworldwide.com and connect with her on LinkedIn or Twitter (@Vickie_Austin).