Good Enough for the NFL

Good Enough for the NFL bluefeet blog post by Lilli Cloud

Her husband, a former NFL player, had her on the phone until the minute she left the hotel room for the big interview. And it was big – a panel of 18 people, a small audience, really.

He had her on her toes, jumping up and down, pumping her fists in the air. Doing all the things the NFL players do before they take the field. She was gearing up for the big game, and that hotel room door was her tunnel.

She aced it. Perhaps in no small part due to the change in her body chemistry that he had guided her through.

What my client experienced was what Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist and associate professor at Harvard Business School, proved in her research on power posing. Expansive poses increase testosterone and reduce cortisol. That’s an increase in your power hormone and a reduction in your stress hormone. And it can happen in just two minutes.

Few bluefeet workshops or coaching sessions go by without a discussion of power posing. For women, this is particularly important. The way our mothers and grandmothers taught us to sit is literally reducing our power.

While we still can’t sit like the guys do, in the expansive, sprawled-out poses guaranteed to increase our power, we can be careful not to be too ladylike. As the saying goes: Well-behaved women rarely make history.

Feet on the floor, shoulders back in an open posture – this is the way to sit. Before the big meeting, you can do the Wonder Woman or stand with your arms high in the air in a restroom or office.

I once prepped a speaker who stood in the back of the room with hands on hips, shoulders back, in a surreptitious Wonder Woman while the audience assembled. No one even noticed.

Don’t underestimate the importance of preparing yourself physically for a big meeting or presentation. Stretching, jumping, power posing – all decrease stress and make you feel strong and positive.

I hope you won’t feel the need to tackle anyone, but if it’s good enough for the NFL, it’s good enough for corporate America. After all, everyone wants to be a winner.