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Friday, November 1, 2013

Finding Your Inner Superhero

In the next year, I'm going to spend more time and energy providing support to youth services librarians who want to advocate for themselves, their work, and their department.  Look for more blog posts with ideas and resources (and occasional rants!).  Here's the first.

Sometimes, it can be nerve-wracking to go into a meeting with the library board, a library director or supervisor, or a potential funding organization--especially when you are planning to advocate for more resources, time, or respect!  Actually, I think it is always stressful to do this. Wouldn't it be great if there was a simple way to feel less stressed and more capable before you head into these sorts of meetings?

My Superhero sister (really, her alter-ego is SheRa, Princess of Power!) just told me about a terrific TED talk by Amy Cuddy, social psychologist and professor at the Harvard Business School.  If you have 20 minutes, please watch this video, it is incredible! She talks about the way your body language not only affects the impressions of others, it also affects you and your outcomes. 
In a double-blind experiment, she found that people who spend 2 minutes before a stressful interview doing power poses (standing with your arms in a V or with arms akimbo, for instance) lower their cortisol (stress hormone) and increase their testosterone (which makes them feel more powerful).  Not only that, these people came across as more confident, more engaging, and more present--more fully able to share their vision and ideas (and were more likely to get hired).

So, even if you don't have time to watch the video right now, you should make time later.  And in the meantime, you should try the technique--go into a private bathroom stall and do power poses for 2 minutes before your next meeting and see if it helps.

Amy Cuddy power posing with Wonder Woman

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