Want to know who never gets nervous on first dates? Wonder Woman, that’s who!
And so when it comes to exuding confidence throughout that all-important first meeting, a Harvard professor says that nothing beats channelling your inner superhero or heroine.
Her theory is backed up by science, and, thankfully, it doesn’t involve pulling your underwear over your trousers, donning a cape or tying a lasso around your waist before you rock up to the coffee shop or cocktail bar. Thank Hera for that!
Social psychologist Amy Cuddy claims that – for men and women alike - striking a Wonder Womanesque pose for as little as three minutes before your date, has a significant affect on your body. And she wants us all to start doing it before any big event where the impression we create matters – business meetings, job interviews, and, of course, early dates. And judging by follower count – her TED talk on this subject has received over 25 million views and counting – plenty of wondrous men and women are taking on board her advice.
So why does it work? Well firstly, it raises testosterone levels, the hormone associated with confidence. Secondly, it drastically decreases your cortisol levels, the hormone linked to stress. Thirdly, it makes you more open to taking chances. And finally, these things combined help to make you feel as well as appear more powerful.
The opposite is true when you adopt what Cuddy calls a “low power pose” - where you’re scrunched up, fidgeting, slumped or nervously touching your neck or thigh: your testosterone decreases and your cortisol soars, your willingness to take a risk plummets and you feel less powerful.
Now who couldn’t do with a little more confidence, power and willingness to put themselves out there right before a big date? Not to mention feeling a little less nervous or tense?
So how do you do it? Firstly make sure you have a private space where nobody can see you (this isn’t something you want to do in front of your date, unless they happen to be Lex Luther or Superman himself). It could be in a toilet cubicle or even in the lift on the way to your destination. Stand with your feet just over hip width apart and rest your hands on your hips, elbows out to the side at right angles. Tilt your chin slightly upwards and fix your vision on a point in the distance, breathing steadily with your face relaxed in a gentle smile. Stay that way for a minimum of three minutes.
You’ll find that the affects aren’t just physical – by changing the way your body feels you’ve also altered your mood.
Now all you have to do is fly off to work that superhero magic on your date. Hera, give me strength!