I was reading an article on Writer Unboxed about How to Be A Conference Extrovert. It made me laugh because there is so much truth to the idea that a conference of 2000+ ladies (and perhaps 3 or 4 very, very brave gentlemen) contains 90% introverted flowers who are far happier sitting at a computer than in a room full of strangers. And the idea of introducing yourself blindly to a lobby full of people you don’t know (and the random NYTimes authors you do) sounds about as appealing as pulling your fingernails out one at a time.
It’s funny to think that you might needs tips on how to talk to other writers. Writers. Kindred spirits. Sisters who get the day to day glamor of working in your pajamas. And no matter the setting, be it a national conference, a chapter retreat or even just a small meeting or gathering, it’s always difficult to strike up conversations with the people sitting next to you. After all, we’re introverts. 😉
I recently watched a video with Amy Cuddy (and for some reason, I keep seeing her name as Cuddly.) that talked about body language and power — whether or not our physical movements could help up essentially “fake it” until we make it. That is — we could fake the sense of power when we walk into a lobby or room overrun by all walks of writer life, from the Nora Roberts sitting on a couch to the first-timer sitting alone, unsure of where to go. (And if you see her? Say hello. You’ll make a friend for life.)
This is where the title of this post comes in.
No, I’m not going to suggest you walk into the room and strike the Wonder Woman pose. But the study that was done was whether or not a pose of power would help you feel, in fact, more powerful — and whether a pose that indicates a lack of power, would make you feel weaker in the room. The study indicates that when we hold ourselves smaller, we lessen our power. When we expand on that room, we expand our power.
And our body chemistry adjusts with it. The video explains it far better than I could (and it’s interesting to watch), but it’s a compelling case for effectively changing your life by adjusting your physical posture. In In the study they did, testosterone went up in the body when power positions have been taken, but cortisol went up in the body when weaker postures have been taken. It’s a powerful suggestion that simply holding yourself differently could help you create a different experience.
So here is my suggestion for all of you conference goers. Before you leave your room, before you brave the wilds of Romance Writers of America overtaking the hotel — strike a pose. For two minutes. Stand ala Wonder Woman, take control of the two feet around you and hold it. Take deep breaths. Hold your head high. For two minutes.
Then go downstairs. Then mingle. See if it changes your experience. And if you feel silly doing it, just imagine that I’m in my hotel room — taking deep breath, strikes a pose, too. Minus the golden lasso, of course.