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Home » Instructional Design » Fake It ‘Til You Make It — Annoying Cliche or Truth?

Fake It ‘Til You Make It — Annoying Cliche or Truth?


Fake It ‘Til You Make It — Annoying Cliche or Truth?

I occa­sion­ally sur­prise myself by utter­ing the cliché above while encour­ag­ing a shy per­son to improve their pre­sen­ta­tion skills and con­fi­dence. I used to secretly kick myself for using such a hack­neyed phrase—until I read Richard Wiseman’s great new book, “As If.” In it, he cites dozens of stud­ies show­ing that if we act a cer­tain way, we begin to think and feel that way.

Here’s one sci­en­tific study that’s par­tic­u­larly rel­e­vant to presenters:

Vanessa Bohns and her asso­ciates at the Uni­ver­sity of Toronto asked one group of vol­un­teers to adopt a pos­ture asso­ci­ated with dom­i­nance and power: these vol­un­teers stuck out their chests and moved their arms away from their bod­ies. Other vol­un­teers were instructed to curl up in a powerless-looking ball.

Then, the exper­i­menters placed a tourni­quet on each volunteer’s arm and slowly inflated it. The band got tighter and tighter, reduc­ing blood flow. Vol­un­teers were asked to say when they could no longer tol­er­ate the dis­com­fort. Find­ings: those in the pow­er­ful pos­ture were able to tol­er­ate much tighter tourni­quets that those curled up in a ball. Sim­ply act­ing as if they were pow­er­ful and strong helped push away an unwanted emotion.

So-step into that “magic cir­cle” and fake it ‘til you make it! Roll those shoul­ders back, open­ing up your chest. Sep­a­rate your arms from your body. Be BIG! No one will know you are quak­ing inside…go on and give it a try. Sci­ence sup­ports you!iStock_000015368530XSmall-300x258


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