Be More Powerful in Just 2 Minutes!

Ms. Amy Cuddy, Harvard social psychologist, is an expert on non-verbal behavior and in a recent study found that “power posing” for just 2 minutes can help a person to be more
powerful — assertive, confident and optimistic. Even when a person doesn’t feel confident, assuming a position of confidence can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain.

During Ms. Cuddy’s study, participants were told to pose in positions of power, i.e., arms in a
‘V’ above the head as a runner does when crossing the finish line, while others were told to pose in positions of defeat, i.e, arms crossed and shoulders rounded. Participants were interviewed and saliva samples were taken both before and after the poses were struck.

The people who struck “power poses” were 26% more likely to tolerate risk, demonstrating an increase in their confidence and optimism, compared to the people who struck “defeated poses”. The power posed participants had a 20% increase in testosterone, compared to a 10% decrease in testosterone in the defeated posed participants, demonstrating the change in levels of confidence and assertiveness. Lastly, the power posed people had a 25% decrease in cortisol, while the defeated posed people had a 15% increase in cortisol, demonstrating the change in the level of stress.

How and when should you “power pose”?

You can use this technique to prepare for any situation where you’re being evaluated—interviewing for a new job, the first day of classes, meeting the in-laws for the first time, preparing for a sales presentation, etc. All you need is 2 minutes in an elevator or in a bathroom stall and you can power pose. Here are a few examples:

  • Stand
    with your feet shoulder length apart, fists or hands on your waist, shoulders back, chin up
  • Stand
    with feet slightly apart, arms above your head in a V-shape
  • Sit,
    knees open, hands cradling your head with your elbows out
  • Sit,
    knees apart, arm on top of the next chair

Strike That Pose!