I have an introvert friend, let’s call her Ruth, who used to dread social events because she was so bad at small talk. For all her poise and confidence at work, managing a successful team, the thought of a party gave her the heeby-jeebies. Something has changed though. Last time we met she told me about a work cocktail party that was a blast – so what happened? Well, in a nutshell, she’s been practicing “fake it til you become it.”There are any number of books providing advice for those of us who dread social occasions. One of my favourites lists ice-breaker questions (beyond the predictable “have you travelled far?”) such as “I wonder who we have in common here; X invited me, who invited you?” and “how do you know them”…… Beyond that though, Ruth told me she had been practicing something else. She’d watched a TED video by Amy Cuddy about body language and the benefit of adopting a Power Pose before stressful situations requiring confidence and poise. Just as Usain Bolt crosses the finishing line with arms open wide above his head, naturally celebrating his win, there are particular stances which enhance the power hormone testosterone and reduce the stress hormone cortisol. Practicing a Power Pose before an interview, a meeting with the boss, important date, stressful social situation, presentation and so on, can literally change your brain and body chemistry to great effect.If you’re curious, there are two things to check out: firstly, a well written blog entry by Henna Innam weaving together Amy Cuddy’s research with an embodied way of working in which I am trained, courtesy Strozzi Institute. If you’re curious, please email or call to set up a consultation.http://www.forbes.com/sites/hennainam/2014/05/13/lead-with-your-body-in-…and secondly, Amy Cuddy’s TED video: