I’m a relatively avid reader, just shy of voracious. One book I’ve read this summer is Amy Cuddy’s Presence.
If you’re like me and other 35 million+ who’ve watched her TED talk, then this book will be an extension of her. Though it’d be cooler to sit with her and listen in person, the book’s a reasonable continuation.
Today I want to excerpt a section I find particularly relevant to me and my work. In Chapter 6 “Slouching, Steepling, and The Language of the Body,” Ms. Cuddy shares insight from experiments on girls and boys’ body language, how it relates to power and some of the real world implications. (You’ll need to read the whole thing for this to all make clear sense).
She leads up by telling the reader about how body language studies conducted with young girls and boys absolutely influence the ruts of expectations and power of the sexes. She queries, “What do we do about this, you might wonder?”
“I am issuing a challenge to all of us, and it’s one that I do not take lightly: Let’s change it. When you see your daughters, sisters, and female friends begin to collapse in on themselves, intervene. Show them examples of girls and women in triumphant postures, moving with a sense of power, speaking with authentic pride. Change the images and stereotypes that kids are exposed to. We don’t need to tell women to be like men. But we do need to encourage girls not to be afield to express their personal power. Let’s stop thinking about powerful postures as masculine and powerless as feminine. I’m not advocating that you sit with your knees wide apart or your feet up on the desk while in a meeting or that you engage in alpha body languages in your interactions – whether you are a man or a woman. I’m telling you that you deserve to adopt open, comfortable postures and to take up your fair share of space regardless of your gender.”
She nails it: power isn’t about sex or expectations of ourselves or pressure put forward by others. It’s about realizing we all have our own power, our power to, as she explains it.
Read the book. It’s well worth it. We can all make positive change happen right now, today. She’s helping explain how.
How does this relate to marketing? Body language is obvious communication. Marketing is communication. Effective marketing and communication changes the world for the better.