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Amy Cuddy: Harvard Professor says 'standing like a man' will improve women's confidence by 20 per cent

The body language expert says women need to "unlearn" postures that feel weak and small - which says are ingrained by society from childhood

Caroline Mortimer
Friday 12 February 2016 18:04 GMT
Amy Cuddy speaks onstage during Cosmopolitan Magazine's Fun Fearless Life Conference
Amy Cuddy speaks onstage during Cosmopolitan Magazine's Fun Fearless Life Conference (Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Cosmopolitan Magazine and WME Live)

A Harvard expert in body language has said there is one simple way to improve a woman’s confidence “instantly” - by standing “like a man”.

In a new book, Presence, Professor Amy Cuddy has laid out her top tips for women - saying their body language could be the key to success in their career, romance or even just everyday life.

She told the Daily Mail the way they stand, sit and speak can boost our levels of confidence-boosting hormone testosterone by nearly 20 cent.

Here are some of the small ways women can boost their self-esteem:

Shoulders back and stop hunching

Woman have a tendency to adopt “powerless” stances which make them look weak and small.

Prof Cuddy says this is reinforced by correspondingly low levels of testosterone.

Instead of slumping you shoulders and bowing your head she believes you should make yourself feel “bigger” by lifting your chin, pulling your shoulders back and spreading your feet apart.

The “Wonder Woman” pose

Prof Cuddy believes all women have these weak poses reinforced by society. She observed how young girls and boys behave and noticed there were not too many differences in the way they stand.

She believes women need to unlearn these meek poses to feel powerful.

She says women should pose with their feet apart, hands on hips and chin tilted upwards for two minutes before a big meeting or date.

Prof Cuddy says it will not only give your confidence a boost but will increase their levels of testosterone and decrease stress levels.

Look up

Prof Cuddy says although eye contact is important too much can be a bad thing.

One study found that candidates who tried to maintain constant eye contact in a job interview were viewed as “fake” by their interviewers.

Instead the research found people who alternated eye contact with glancing upwards came across the best.

Prof Cuddy's new book Presence

Bite a pencil

One of Prof Cuddy’s more curious suggestions was to “practice smiling by holding a pencil between your teeth for twenty minutes”.

It forces your mouth muscles into a smile if you are too nervous to do one naturally.

Finger pointing

A technique used by police interviewing criminals is holding your fingers in front of your face - Prof Cuddy says this look inspires confidence.

Lower your voice and never play with your hair

Prof Cuddy says voices convey power and the lower yours goes the bigger and more impressive you seem.

But she warns to avoid fidgeting - playing with your hair or fiddling with your clothes is a telltale sign of nervousness.

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