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Speaking tests: dramatically changing the outcome

In the second most popular TED Talk of all time, Amy Cuddy comes to the intriguing, evidence-based conclusion that altering the way we stand for just two minutes before an evaluative situation — a presentation or an exam — really can lead to better outcomes.

‘We know that our minds change our bodies, but is it also true that our bodies change our minds?’

As a teacher, you are are familiar with stressful situations: the first lesson with a new intake; giving a presentation at a conference; watching a student walk into an IELTS Speaking test. You may even have looked at one of the many Youtube videos on overcoming stage fright. But what if ‘nerves’ are not the real issue?

In this talk, Harvard psychologist Amy Cuddy describes experiments that show how ‘our bodies change our minds, our minds can change our behavior, and our behavior can change our outcomes.’ The intriguing, evidence-based conclusion is that altering the way we stand for just two minutes before an evaluative situation — a presentation or an exam — really can lead to better outcomes.

This is the second most popular TED Talk of all time and makes compelling viewing. For students facing a speaking test, the key section starts at about 10:15: ‘‘Don’t leave that situation feeling, like, oh I didn’t show them who I am. Leave that situation feeling like, I really got to say who I am and show who I am.’

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