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.
2/2/2016 09:33:52 am
This comment is mostly off-topic, but a pet peeve of mine is people who bring cell phones to meetings. There may be times when this is a necessity, but most times in my office this is not necessary. People also take them to training sessions. It's saying that the meeting/training isn't that important. When this happens, it can be pretty evident that people are checking their cell phones, even if they are trying to "hide" that is what they are doing. There are postures most people have when they are trying to check their cell phones. I don't know that this undermines their assertiveness, but it makes me think less of them.
2/3/2016 04:21:07 pm
Couldn't agree more with you: Checking cell phones at meetings -- or any interactive/social situation -- does send the message that the person on the other end of the cell phone is more important than the people present. Thanks for connecting.
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