Posing: A Tool for Power and Rapport

We all have a pose, a gesture, a way of holding ourselves. On the surface, many people never broach the topic–but subconsciously? The brain makes a lot of judgments based on how a person holds themselves. Especially when it comes to demonstrating power and building rapport.

Recent studies have even shown that the WAY you stand or pose, has an even more profound impact on how others perceive you in power roles than gender (see: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201504/can-women-ever-be-taken-seriously). Sorry ladies, no more excuses.

Additionally, studies by Amy Cuddy have shown the profound impacts of holding a power position (or standing with your hands on hips) for just two minutes before an interview can actually help your brain and physiology communicate more power and calm in a job interview.

So– what exactly are power poses? Power poses typically consist of a person taking up more space (vs crossing their arms and legs), having good posture (which also technically takes up more space), and being still (not fidgeting).  Side note: I wonder if they’ve done any studies with high heels, do women in high heels give off more “vertical” or a sense of power than those who don’t? What about men with a slight heel? If you’ve heard of these studies–I’d be curious to learn more. 

Hands on hip isn’t just sass any more–it’s a power pose. Gesturing with arms–power. Now a word-of-caution, all of these movements should happen at appropriate times and with calm. If you’re flailing your arms around? That doesn’t convey power/respect, but goofiness… which is totally appropriate in other scenarios, but not when you’re trying to gain gravitas.

Next time you want to emphasize some power and rapport? Stand a little taller, wider, and stiller.

Until next time,


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