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It’s all in the Pose!

Lawyer CoachingHolding "High Power Poses" for Two Minutes Can Surge Your Confidence

All of us have those up and down moments of feeling in charge. You know the ones... One minute you are the alpha dog in the room, the next you want to run for cover.

But what if you could learn how to control your feelings of security and power? New research shows you can! According to Harvard Business School professor Amy J.C. Cuddy, all of us can summon an extra surge of power just by holding our bodies in expansive, "high-power" poses for as little as two minutes. Cuddy says, a power pose "stimulates  higher levels of testosterone (the hormone linked to power and dominance) and lowers levels of stress-producing cortisol." Power pose results: A stronger feeling of power and a greater tolerance for risk.

"We used to think that emotion ended on the face," Cuddy says. "Now there is established research showing that while it's true that facial expressions reflect how you feel, you can also 'fake it until you make it.' In other words, you can smile long enough that it makes you feel happy."

So, what about body poses to use before you go into an important meeting that will make you feel powerful and authoritative?

Caution: Only use these poses to prepare yourself beforehand, not when you are actually in a meeting.

  • Standing with your arms raised in victory pose.
  • The classic feet on desk.
  • Hands behind head while seated.
  • Sitting with arms stretched out across the adjoining chairs.
  • Standing and leaning your hands on your desk.

Silly as this sounds, research shows any pose that requires your arms and legs to be stretched out can spike a person's testosterone and drop stress-producing cortisol. And, it works for both genders.

You can make yourself feel as confident as you want to be by power posing for 2 minutes before any event that threatens your poise and presence. Try it and see for yourself.

Source: Power Posing: Fake it Until You Make It - Harvard Business School Weekly Newsletter

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