Patrick Schwerdtfeger is a motivational speaker who can speak about the effects of body posture on free testosterone levels and how that affects confidence and persuasion at your next business event. Contact us to check availability. The full transcript of the above video is included below.
Full Video Transcript:
Hi, and welcome to another edition of Strategic Business Insights. Today we’re going to be talking about testosterone and how you can increase it by up to 20% in two minutes. This is crazy research. It turns out that if someone stands in a power pose—so a power pose is anything where you’re spreading out. When you’re really confident, you take up space. You spread out. This is true in the animal kingdom as well. So animals when you look out into the animal kingdom, they do the same thing. They take up space when they’re alpha, when they’re dominant, when they’re confident, when they have a lot of testosterone inside.
So if a person stands in a power pose, so hands in the air, like victory, or at your side, or you could even be sitting back in your chair with your hands behind your head like that, taking up space, anything where you’re letting your neck show, when your chin is up, that’s a very confident—it’s a very vulnerable part of the body. By contrast, someone who’s going like this where they’re covering up their neck, that’s a very submissive position. So anything where you’re up, your neck is out, your chin is up, you’re spread out, it’s a very dominant position.
If you hold a power position, just standing there in that position, for two minutes, your testosterone will spike by 20% at that moment. I’m not going to say it’s going to last forever, but it’s going to go up immediately, because your body responds. So the point is that we have historically always thought that your psychology influences your physiology. In other words, the way you think impacts the way you move, the way your body responds. But it turns out that the opposite is true as well. In other words, what you do with your body affects your psychology and your physiology at the same time.
So for example, if you’re holding this power pose, your body responds to that even if you aren’t feeling confident in your own mind. But if you just stand there, confident, you could be doing this in a closet or in a hallway, you could go into a public restroom and stand in a stall and do this for two minutes, 120 seconds, just stand there, just confident, head up, chin up, power position, for two minutes your testosterone is going to spike by 20%. And at the same time, your cortisol is going to drop by 25%. What’s your cortisol? Cortisol is risk aversion. So the extent to which you want to avoid risk is cortisol. So if cortisol drops, it means your tolerance for risk goes up. Both things happen. Power pose, testosterone jumps by 20%, cortisol drops by 25%.
And what does that do? It starts a cycle where you become more alpha at that moment. We radiate our emotions. It’s involuntary. If you’re depressed, people can tell. People can tell subconsciously. They may not be responding to it in a conscious way, but subconsciously they notice those cues. Even a baby that’s like five days old can already distinguish between a smiling face and a frowning face, and at seven months they use facial expressions as social cues. People – we came hardwired to do this. We notice how each other are thinking. If you’re happy, people around you know. They know you’re happy. They may not consciously realize it, but subconsciously they see those cues.
When you’re excited, do you know what happens? Your pupils dilate. Your eyes are bigger. Your skin is more flush. You speak at a higher pitch, at a louder pitch. You tend to use larger gestures. We do all this involuntarily. It’s natural. Even blind people put their hands up in the air in victory when they have a victory. People intuitively know. It’s an automatic reaction. When you’re excited, you’re bigger, you’re more comfortable.
Now, this has unbelievable implications. By the way, if you want to see the origin of this research, it was done by a professor at Harvard by the name of Amy Cuddy, C-U-D-D-Y. In fact, I’m going to put a link right here to her TED video so that you can click through and watch it. I highly recommend you watch it. To me, when I watched this, I thought, “This is life-changing.” I mean, the implications are so far-reaching, it’s astonishing.
So one of the studies they did is they set up—this was done for a whole bunch of MBA students at Harvard, and Berkeley as well, I think. It might have been two different universities, I’m not sure. But the bottom line is, these are MBA students. These are highly-educated, intelligent people. And they set up a very difficult interview scenario for them, a job interview scenario where the interviewers were told to be hard and give zero feedback, which is actually the most difficult to deal with psychologically, by the way. If people give feedback either positive or negative, at least you get a gauge of what’s going on, and so you can digest where you stand vis–à–vis their evaluation process, their selection process. But when people give no feedback at all, that’s actually the most stressful. And that’s what they did for these students. So it was a very stressful interview environment.
But before they went into the interview room, outside they were put into one of two groups, and one group was told to be in a power position, strong, victorious, power position, for two minutes. The other group was told to have submissive—closed-off, crossed, make-yourself-smaller, covering-your-neck, submissive—positions for two minutes. And then from those rooms, they went in to do the actual interview. And not surprisingly, of course the interviewers had no idea who did which pose, but the ones that had confident power poses dramatically outperformed the others.
Do you understand how huge this is? Think of all the different environments in your life where it’s important that you do well. And this isn’t just—testosterone is usually associated with males, but this applies to women too. Women have testosterone just like men have testosterone. And if you want to be a powerful woman, if you want to be successful and you want to be authentic and relaxed in any environment, which is almost synonymous with confidence, testosterone is what you’re after. Higher testosterone, lower cortisol. In other words, higher risk tolerance and higher alpha.
So imagine all the different scenarios. Maybe you have to get onstage and give a talk. That’s what I do for a living, so I’m constantly in that environment. Or maybe you have to go to a job interview like some of those people did in the study. Or maybe you’re just on a date. Maybe you’re just on a date or you’re meeting someone important. Maybe you’re meeting your date’s parents, right? Imagine.
You want to be confident, relaxed, authentic. How do you do that? You can literally slip out to a restroom and stand in a stall, okay? [Laughs] And just power position, put your chest out, arms in the air. Whatever it is, take that power position for two or three minutes. And think powerfully as well. It’ll just augment the effects.
But the bottom line is, you can do this in a million different ways. Think about people who are in that type of a pose regularly. Professional athletes are constantly in that type of a mode, like a boxer. Can you imagine a boxer? Even a politician. A politician could potentially be in that type of a pose on a regular basis. Well, by doing that, you’re constantly spiking your testosterone higher. Constantly.
Imagine how that impacts your life. If you’re someone who’s feeling defeated, or maybe you’re in the middle of a struggle in your life and you’re feeling really defeated, you can change it. You can change it by just changing your physiology.
Watch that TED video that I put that link there. I’ll put it up here again, so right here. Watch that video. It’s a fantastic TED Talk, and the implications are huge. You can use this for your business. When you’re doing business transactions, negotiations, this is huge for business as well.
So thanks for watching this video. This is Patrick reminding you once again to think bigger about your business, think bigger about your life.
Patrick Schwerdtfeger is a keynote speaker who has spoken at business conferences in North America, South America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.