The Power of Power Poses

Written by Danielle Owen Whitford

How to tap into your inner confidence when you need it the most

In our quest to exude confidence and assertiveness, we often search for techniques to help us harness our power. One technique gaining popularity in recent years is the practice of power poses

It might feel a bit “woo-woo” to some people, but this is a tried and tested method used by some VERY notable celebrities, executives, and influential figures who have publicly expressed their endorsement of popping a power pose to boost their confidence.

Oprah Winfrey credits power poses as part of her routine for building confidence before major public appearances. The greatest tennis legend of all time, Serena Williams, has mentioned using power poses to enhance her mental focus and composure on the court, and former US president Barack Obama has been known to utilise power poses to exude a solid and authoritative presence during speeches and public appearances.

What is a Power Pose?

A power pose is a stance or posture that evokes feelings of confidence, power, and dominance. It involves adopting a body position that conveys openness, expansiveness, and strength. Power poses are often characterised by an upright posture, with the body taking up space and the head held high. These poses are intended to influence how others perceive us and our own internal state and mindset.

When would I want to do a Power Pose?

Power poses can be employed in various situations where projecting confidence and authority are advantageous. Think about the times that you might feel most stressed and would need to tap into your inner confidence to get you through, such as:

Before important presentations or public speaking engagements: Taking a power pose before stepping on stage can help reduce anxiety and boost self-assurance, allowing you to deliver your message with conviction and charisma.

Job interviews or negotiations: Adopting a power pose before entering a job interview or negotiation can enhance your presence and increase your chances of conveying competence and authority.

Networking events or social gatherings: Power poses can help you radiate confidence and make a lasting impression when meeting new people, allowing you to establish connections more effectively.

Stressful or challenging situations: When faced with high-pressure situations, power poses can help you manage stress, maintain composure, and approach problems with a sense of control.

Do Power Poses really work? (Here’s the scientific proof)

The effectiveness of power poses has been the subject of scientific study, most notably popularised by social psychologist Amy Cuddy and her colleagues. In a landmark study published in 2010, Cuddy and her team found that assuming high-power poses (such as standing with arms raised and hands on hips) for just a few minutes can lead to psychological and physiological changes.

Their research revealed that power posing could increase testosterone levels, a hormone associated with dominance and confidence, while simultaneously decreasing cortisol levels, a hormone related to stress. This hormonal shift made participants feel more assertive, capable, and ready to take on challenges.

While subsequent research has produced mixed results and sparked debates, many studies have shown that power poses can positively affect self-perception, confidence, and performance in various domains.

Examples of Power Poses

Feeling stressed or lacking confidence? Here are some Power Poses you can try to get you through:

  • The Wonder Woman or Super Hero: Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart, place your hands on your hips, and lift your chin slightly. Imagine yourself as a superhero, ready to conquer any challenge that comes your way.
  • The Victory: Stand upright with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. Extend your arms above your head in a V-shape, with your palms facing outward. This pose symbolises triumph and confidence.
  • The CEO: Sit or stand with your legs crossed and your hands behind your head, interlocking your fingers. Lean back slightly and maintain an open posture. This pose conveys authority and leadership.
  • The Open-Arms: Stand or sit with your arms wide, extending them to the sides. Keep your chest lifted and your head held high. This pose signifies openness, approachability, and confidence.
  • The Warrior: Stand with your feet wide apart, one foot in front of the other. Plant your back feet firmly on the ground and bend your front knee, lowering your body into a lunge position. Raise your arms above your head, stretching them out wide. This pose embodies strength, determination, and resilience.

Remember, the key to power poses lies in adopting an open and expansive posture, allowing yourself to take up space, and maintaining a confident and assertive mindset. Don’t forget to breathe!

Experiment with different poses and find the ones that make you feel most empowered and ready to tackle any challenge. 

We love power poses at Pioneera! We’ve even included them in our nudges delivered by Coach Indie. Our AI bot offers personalised tips so every team member is more engaged, motivated and focused on achieving goals. To find out more, request a free chat. 

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