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How's your body language?

Hank Hayes • Sep 24, 2018 at 8:30 AM

KINGSPORT – Social psychologist and author Dr. Amy Cuddy thinks sitting up straight is a show of respect to yourself.

Cuddy, who wrote the New York Times best-selling book Presence, inspired more than 500 attendees to be their boldest selves at the 2018 IDEAcademy event recently held at the Eastman Employee Center.

Cuddy discussed the impact nonverbal behavior can have on a person’s own thoughts, performance, and psychological and physical well-being. She shared how individuals can be more present, confident and satisfied in their professional and personal lives by tweaking their body language.

“Presence builds a sense of power,” Cuddy noted. “This isn’t a sense of power over others, but power within ourselves. Confidence. Feeling powerful activates how we approach the world. Power cultivates presence. Our body language not only signals messages to others and affects how they see us, it affects how we see ourselves.”

Cuddy shared how “victory poses” or “power poses” are a universal expression of confidence and pride that crosses cultures. Her 2012 TED Talk, “Your Body Language May Shape Who You Are,” has been viewed more than 48 million times.

“Body language that is destructive is closed and collapsed, it’s nothing different than what our grandparents told us: ‘Sit up straight,’” she said during a media availability with reporters. “When we slouch, we feel less assertive and more depressed. We feel less confident and less optimistic … kids are hunching over their phones all the time.”

When asked about President Trump’s body language, Cuddy responded: “I’m always hesitant to talk about politicians’ body language … (but) I see awkwardness in it. I see a sort of false confidence that he himself may not even believe. I’ll leave it at that.”

Who else spoke at IDEAcademy?

The free leadership development event featured thought leaders ranging from storytellers and sports enthusiasts to scientists and students around the theme of “Fueling insights. Driving transformation.”

StoryCenter Program Director and Principle Facilitator Allison Myers suggested listening is an overlooked leadership skill.

“I think we all really need to be listened to, want to be listened to,” she said. “ … Leadership is inclusive. It’s about inviting those other voices into the room … practicing active listening and … letting your stories change us.”

PowerSchool Founder Greg Porter said he got the idea for his web-based business monitoring education administration was when his high school faced an attendance crisis.

“You don’t need an MBA (masters in business administration) … what I do find that was key to me was solving a problem,” Porter said.

Who sponsored the event?

The event endowed by Eastman was in partnership with East Tennessee State University’s College of Business and Technology.

“The heart of IDEAcademy’s mission is to create an opportunity for thought leaders, professionals, students, community members and educators to come together to discover how fueling insights and driving transformation can create a positive impact on our communities,” said David A. Golden, senior vice president, chief legal & sustainability officer, and corporate secretary at Eastman. “We are excited to be a part of IDEAcademy, and we look forward to further collaborations that spark from this event.”

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