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Book Summary: Presence by Amy Cuddy

Updated: Feb 21, 2022


Rating: 10/10 | Recommended For: Everyone | Category: Leadership

✏️ Presence Summary Written by Katy Walton

3 Big Ideas from Presence by Amy Cuddy 💡

Presence Book by Amy Cuddy helps you bring your boldest self to your biggest challenges:

  1. Feeling powerless makes us self-absorbed. When we feel we have personal power, we’re naturally more open, more optimistic and have greater risk tolerance – which means we’re more likely to notice and take opportunities.

  2. You don’t need to embark on a life-long pilgrimage to work on transforming yourself. Instead, focus on moments, taking each one as it comes. Tiny Habits can have a huge impact.

  3. Before heading into situations where we know we will be challenged, we can reduce our anxiety by either focusing on our thoughts or our actions. In Amy Cuddy’s study on self-affirmation, she demonstrates how focusing on your strengths keeps cortisol – the stress hormone – in check. In her study on body language and power-posing, she concludes that how we sit, stand and act can either increase or reduce Cortisol accordingly.

2 Best Quotes from Presence by Amy Cuddy 💬

Presence Book Summary quotes:

“Presence is the state of being able to comfortably express our thoughts. That’s it. It’s not a permanent mode of being – it comes and goes, moment to moment.”
“When we feel present, our speech, facial expressions and movements align. It’s what makes us compelling. We are no longer fighting ourselves, we are being ourselves”

Top Takeaway

One of the most eye-opening areas of focus for me was on the i-posture. That is, the posture we tend to adopt when on our devices, such as phones, tablets, laptops. Not only are our devices stealing our attention, but they inherently shift our position into powerless positions – impacting both confidence levels and the level of assertiveness or submission you project to others.

On testing the hypothesis, Amy Cuddy, along with social psychologist Maarten Bos, discovered that the smaller the device used in their experiment, the less assertively the subjects acted. Be aware that interacting on an iPhone (the smallest device in their experiment) even for short periods, is likely to reduce assertiveness and undermine any benefits of productivity and efficiency.

You can counteract any time spent in front of a screen by choosing your device carefully and configuring your space to allow for the most upright and expansive posture.

If you are unable to adopt a physically expansive posture, even focussing on one mentally has powerful outcomes. Amy Cuddy ran follow up experiments and concludes that one doesn’t need a fully able body to reap the benefits of ‘power posing’.

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Presence Book Summary Written by: Katy Walton

Katy Walton Bio

I’m a professionally certified coach and career-long learning and development specialist.

📚 One of my earliest childhood photos is of me on a swing, nose in a book. I’ve always loved to read, which no doubt lit the learning fire which continues to blaze.

📗 A recent book I’ve read is Chris Voss: Never Split the Difference. An eye-opening read from a former FBI hostage negotiator on communication, negotiation and influence.


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