Strike A Pose, There’s Nothing To It: A Power Pose Can Boost Your Career

August 25, 2013  |  

Did you realize that how you stand or sit can affect how successful you are? Well, new research shows posture has a bigger impact on body and mind than previously thought. “Striking a powerful, expansive pose actually changes a person’s hormones and behavior, just as if he or she had real power,” reports The Wall Street Journal. And having a “power pose” can exude authority.

What are “power poses”? Practice some: stand tall and lean slightly forward with hands at one’s side, or lean forward over a desk with hands planted firmly on its surface. These poses, found the research, led to higher levels of testosterone and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol in study participants. “These physiological changes are linked to better performance and more confident, assertive behavior, recent studies show,” reports WSJ.

Certain poses are also be relaxing. Striking a powerful pose can reduce symptoms of stress, Dana Carney, an assistant professor at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, told the WSJ. In a study she recently headed, participants were guided for five minutes into either high-power poses or low-power postures, slumping or leaning back with arms or ankles crossed. Next, they presented a videotaped speech before critical evaluators dressed in white lab coats and holding clipboards. Interestingly, the participants who had practiced a power pose before the speech showed lower cortisol and fewer outward signs of stress.

In another study co-authored by Dr. Carney, subjects who struck power poses for two minutes had higher testosterone levels later and were more likely to take a risk when given the opportunity. In fact some 86 percent of high-power posers risked losing $2 they were given in return for a 50-50 chance of doubling the amount. Only 60 percent of low-power posers took the bet, according to the 2010 study, published in The Journal of Psychological Science.

There is even more evidence that power posing is linked to improved performance. Yet another study published last year, led by Amy J.C. Cuddy, an associate professor of business administration at Harvard Business School, required participants to strike power poses for several minutes before beginning a mock job interview. Those who did so got better reviews and were more likely to be hired—even though evaluators never saw them in the poses.

And, power posing before a college-entrance exam can result in improved scores.

So break old body-language habits and start power posing!

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