When your mom said,” Stop slouching!” she never envisioned how hard it might be for you to comply once you got a smartphone. Technology is transforming our posture into what New Zealand physiotherapist Steve August calls the iHunch. And according to Harvard Business School professor Amy Cuddy, author of Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges, this way of holding ourselves is detrimental to our moods and behaviors.
Last year we wrote about Cuddy’s research showing that striking expansive “power poses” prior to events like job interviews and presentations could boost confidence. Unfortunately, slouching has the opposite effect. Cuddy’s preliminary research suggests the collapsed position we assume when checking our phones makes us less assertive — less likely to stand up for ourselves when the situation requires it. There actually appears to be a direct relationship between the size of our devices and the extent to which they affect us: the smaller the device, the more we contract ourselves to use it, and the more inward our posture, the more submissive we’re likely to become.
Bottom line: Your mom was right! Keep your head up and shoulders back. Need to check your phone? Hold it at eye level.
We want to hear. Are you aware of slouching when you use your phone? What happens to your mood and demeanor when you consciously alter your posture? To join the conversation, click "comments" on our Community of Practice Forum.
If you would like to read more about creating a habit around masterful communication, check out our book: Be Quiet, Be Heard: The Paradox of Persuasion.