TC 291: Cafe Book Club – Presence part 6: The Language of the Body

TC 291: Cafe Book Club – Presence part 6: The Language of the Body

In this week’s Cafe Book Club podcast, host Robin Masiewicz and her guest Amy Frost discuss chapter 5 of Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges
by Amy Cuddy, titled “Slouching, Steepling, and the Language of the Body”.

More than 30 million people have watched Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk, “How Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are.” It is ranked second among the most-viewed TED talks. Amy recently discussed her research and her book on CBS Sunday Morning.

Power posing has entered the pop culture as fans of Dilbert may have noticed.


Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock

Sherlock Holmes (as portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch) displays his confidence with steepling

US Gymnast Shawn Johnson at Beijing Olympics

US Gymnast Shawn Johnson at Beijing Olympics after completing Gold Medal performance


Athletes all over the world spontaneously raise their arms and tilt their heads back. This is Usain Bolt after winning the 200 meters.


THE FIERCEST DISPLAY OF power at a New Zealand rugby match occurs before actual play begins

Amy Cuddy refers to the New Zealand rugby team, the All Blacks, who have performed a ceremonial dance called the “Haka” prior to each international match since 1905. It’s a combination of chanting, vigorous movements, and foot-stomping with rhythmically shouted accompaniment. It comes from the Maoiri war dance and is intended to get the team pumped up (and scare the opposing team). Below is a video of the Haka at a match against France. Judge for yourself whether you think the All Blacks’ body language has any effect on them and the French team. And yes, New Zealand won the match against France.

Walking with Swagger

How you walk reflects your emotional state. The Patakosmos Bio Motion Lab has an online experiment that allows you to see how someone who is happy walks versus unhappy. You can also change it from male to female, heavy to light, and nervous to relaxed. Look for the BMLWalker and move the sliders back and forth to see how the figure’s walk changes.


2 Minute Posture Experiment

Take note of your posture now. How are you sitting as you read this? Are you hunched up cross legged, or stretched out? Or something else? Notice how you feel. Now, I suggest you make some adjustments. If you are sitting, move forward in your chair so that your Sitz bones are towards the front of the chair. Place your feet evenly on the floor. Allow your spine to lengthen, and come into alignment. Allow your breath to fill your lungs easily and fully. Do this for 2 minutes. What do you feel now?


Big Ideas from Presence:

  • Presence – Attuned and expressing your personal power
  • Self-Affirmation Theory – You’re Awesome!
  • Priming and Nudges – Build your personal power
  • Expand your Body – to expand your personal power
  • iHunch – Hunching over your phone diminishes your power
  • “I’m Excited!” – Reframe feelings of fear or nervousness as excitement
  • Boldest Version of You – Move like that. Today.

1 Comment

  1. Amy
    Feb 23, 2016

    I love how the pod cast is framed with helping information to lock in the topic… Amy’s description of posturing in power… the haka in action in the real world…what a great job!!!! This work will stand for people to use anytime they need it! Thank YOU!!!

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