The power of our nonverbal communication is undeniable. Whether you find yourself at your kitchen table, your desk, or relaxing on your couch, I invite you to reflect on your nonverbal body language. How is your posture? Are you sitting up tall? Hunched over? What are you doing with your hands? Your legs? Is your jaw clenched or soft? Take a moment to observe yourself. What did you notice?
A few years back, I was introduced to the concept of 'getting big' by social psychologist, Amy Cubby, during her inspiring 2012 Ted Talk. Have you heard of the Superman pose? This is a similar theory. Cubby shed light on the immense influence of our nonverbal cues and, most fascinatingly, how we can harness that power to boost our confidence and sense of empowerment. Simply put, we can trick ourselves into feeling more confident by physically occupying more space.
If you've ever attended one of my workshops or been a student of mine, then you've likely experienced my trademark move: the 'GET BIG!' moment. During this transformative exercise, I extend my limbs with gusto, gracefully waving my arms through the air, often accompanied by the pulsating rhythm of 'Eye of the Tiger' in the background. It's at this juncture that I joyously embody the shape of a starfish, and then something incredible occurs—inevitably, you join in too.
I've conducted this exercise in classrooms, virtual settings, on the main stage, and even with international audiences. Regardless of the space, the impact remains profound. The room comes alive with a surge of confidence as each individual embraces their unique power. People adopt various poses—some standing tall like a pencil, others mirroring my stance, a few even attempting full splits, and a few initially hesitant but ultimately joining in. When our 30 seconds of ‘bigness’ come to a close, the energy and power linger. I consistently notice that almost all participants sit up straighter, unfold themselves, soften their demeanor, and sometimes even wear a self-assured smirk.
The exaggerated arm waving and stance (depicted above) serves as a dramatic representation of the idea that we can approach any situation with enhanced confidence and empowerment simply by claiming more space. You can sit taller, expand your presence, and seize the room—it just takes practice.
Now, it’s your turn.
Put on Eye of the Tiger (or your favorite motivational anthem) and GET BIG.
How do you feel?