Focusing on your body and body language can provide a powerful path to strengthening your presence and confidence. Harvard Business School assistant professor Amy Cuddy’s video, “Boost Power Through Body Language”, demonstrates that by physically warming up with big movements and gestures, stress is reduced and confidence is increased.
I have found applying this bodywork principle to be effective in my own work as a speaker and singer, and also effective in my work with coaching clients. Warming up the body releases tension and allows energy to flow freely. Being in a more relaxed state in the body, creates a more relaxed state in the mind. This in turn sets up conditions for high performance.
Try this warm-up before your next presentation or critical conversation:
Stand up straight and tall
Stretch out your arms on the sides of your body
Make yourself as big as possible
Inhale and exhale deeply
Relax your arms
Take some large strides around the room
Swing your arms back and forth
Continue breathing deeply.
During the actual presentation or conversation:
Scan your body
If you sense constriction anywhere, gently stretch out
Release any holding that you feel in your muscles
Allow yourself to take up more space
Take time to breathe deeply
Making yourself bigger will help you look more confident and feel more confident, too.