Thursday, February 22, 2018

“Fake it till you Become it” - Amy Cuddy, PTK Catalyst 2018 Keynote Speaker

by Peter Dilshan Don

Social psychologist, author, and lecturer Amy Cuddy is an expert on the behavioral science of power, prejudice, and presence. She is best known for her research on the power of nonverbal behavior, prejudice and stereotyping. Amy Cuddy and her research became famous after her Ted talk which delivered at TEDGlobal 2012 in Edinburgh, Scotland. In her Ted talk, she talked about nonverbal behavior, how it can affect other people around us and most importantly how it can affect oneself. She shared findings of her research to show that how nonverbal behavior can affect our own thoughts, performance, and psychological state. In her book, “Presence,” she encourages readers to see the power in behavior, body language and mindset and use them to generate a better sense of presence in our lives.

I learned about Amy Cuddy through social media. One of my friends shared her Ted talk on Facebook and the title of the video, “Your body language may shape who you are,” immediately caught my attention. Because I know that our mind can shape who we are, what we do, our appearance, and our body language. But I have never heard anyone says that your body language has an effect on who you are. Also as a big fan of Sherlock Holmes, I was fascinated by the way Sherlock deduce and come to conclusions based on one’s body language. Even though the stories are fictional, I found that nonverbal behaviors are playing major role in our day to day life. Nonverbal behavior can be very useful when it’s come to social interaction. During my middle school and high school, I had a friend who is naturally talented in art. I was also really good at drawing and painting, and it made us close friends. However, it was difficult to communicate with him since he is unable to hear or speak. In order to truly understand him and effectively communicate with him, I had to rely on his facial expressions and nonverbal behavior. This experience helped me to understand the importance of nonverbal behavior as a communication tool and a way of expression. It wasn’t a surprise to learn that Amy Cuddy’s Ted talk is one of the most viewed Ted talks because it was an interesting subject matter that anyone can be related to. Sometimes it is inevitable to feel powerless and show it to the world. However, Cuddy has shown a way to change it; an important life hack, as she says “fake it till you become it.”

I am very excited to see her, listen to her, and learn about her latest work in person at PTK Catalyst 2018. This year PTK Catalyst going to be a wonderful event since we are celebrating the 100th anniversary as Phi Theta Kappans. This experience will be the highlight of my college life by far because I get to witness Amy Cuddy’s speech in person and participate in such a global event.


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