Changing the outcome
‘Don’t leave that situation feeling, like, oh I didn’t show them who I am. Leave that situation feeling like, I really got to say who I am and show who I am.’ — Amy Cuddy (2012)
In the TED talk Your body language shapes who you are, Amy Cuddy explains how just two minutes of ‘power posing’ before an ‘evaluative situation’, such as the IELTS Speaking test, can really change the outcome of your test. Cuddy describes two types of power posing — high-power and low-power. High-power poses, she suggests, are physically open poses, such as a wide stance with your arms making a V-shape above your head. These are suggested to increase your confidence and feeling of power. Low-power poses, on the other hand, are physically shrinking, making the poser small and closed off therefore reducing confidence and feelings of power. Although the findings have been disputed over the years, this is an interesting example of the psychological aspects of the IELTS Speaking test.
Cuddy’s talk is useful for your IELTS preparation. Listening and learning about different topics is useful practice in the lead up to your exam. Watching TED Talks is a great way to use technology to improve your vocabulary.
Now watch the talk below.
Take notes and try recording your own 1-2 minute talk on the topic, as you would in your Speaking test. Cuddy speaks very fast, so you may find it difficult to understand her at first. Don’t worry! The primary objective of this exercise is to understand the point she is making rather than to practise your listening skills, so use the subtitles if you need to. The whole talk is interesting, but the key section for IELTS candidates starts at about 10:15.
Finally, try power-posing yourself! Let us know if you agree with Amy Cuddy’s research and how you feel before taking your test.
If you need topics to practise on, head Road to IELTS Test Drive for a free, simulated Speaking Part 2.