This phenomenon has become a bona fide strategy for boosting confidence and self-esteem. Powerful body language can help not only the individual feel more confident, but also can change the way they are perceived by others. Harvard psychologist Amy Cuddy gave a famous TED Talk outlining how this practice can change a life… and a career.
Whether it is before an interview or important meeting, striking these poses can help feel more confident, calm and in control. Want these benefits, but unsure where or how to start? Here are 5 power poses to try out, and when:
The Wonder Woman
This pose has feet planted hips-width apart, hands on hips, chest forward, and chin tilted upward.
This pose conveys confidence and power, and tilting the chin upward is the opposite of ducking your head, which can be a sign of anxiety. Do this pose for two minutes before meeting to pitch a big promotion or before a presentation to provide an extra boost of confidence.
Whether it’s an important job interview, annual performance review, or a career-defining presentation, quick: strike a pose! This power pose – named after The Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger – involves putting both hands overhead and standing with feet wide apart.
Raising arms up with an open stance boosts testosterone levels, which helps provide energy and strength. This dominant stance can also boost confidence, which most people need before nerve-wracking interviews or presentations.
In her TED talk, Cuddy named this power pose after President Obama because he often sat like this while in the oval office. The pose conveys dominance and confidence.
Using this pose won’t always make sense; it’s hard to work effectively like this, and it could be seen as disrespectful or overly casual at the office. However, if working from home or arriving early for a meeting test this pose out for a few minutes before anyone walks in.
Leaning forward with hands planted on the table can help to seem taller and more authoritative, particularly during presentations or pitch meetings.
Even when leaning forward, this pose still features an open stance that seems powerful and persuasive. According to Cuddy, she named this pose after Lyndon B. Johnson because he used his height (6’4”) very strategically during meetings to show he was engaged and in control.
“The CEO” pose is named after Oprah Winfrey because of the way she sits: leaned back, at ease and with her arms behind her head. The position isn’t always a natural one, particularly for women, so it exudes confidence and dominance.
Try a few variations of this pose – crossing knees, resting an ankle on the knee – but the key is to relax back into the chair with hands behind the head. This pose may not be good to use during a job interview or meeting for risk of seeming too relaxed or disinterested, but if between calls or reading emails, this pose can help boost esteem and confidence that can bleed into the rest of the day.
Regardless of the specific pose, expanding to take up more space, versus slumping, crossing arms or otherwise becoming smaller, is a natural indicator of power both to others and internally. While body language alone cannot land a big promotion, it can help communicate confidence and help shift mindsets.
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