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Strike a ‘power pose’ to gain an edge

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in Centerpiece,Leaders & Managers,Leadership Skills

confident business woman on computerYour body language can work for or against you. By striking a pose that makes you look confident, you actually gain confidence.

Adjusting how you sit, stand and walk so that you radiate power can lower your stress and influence your behavior, according to new research. Adopting a “power pose” may even enhance your performance.

Try an experiment. Stand up straight and lean slightly forward with your hands at your side. Or stand over a desk with your hands resting on it. Keep still; avoid fidgeting.

Do you notice any difference in how you feel about yourself?

Such confident body positioning triggers higher levels of testosterone while lowering cortisol, a stress hormone. Meanwhile, others might perceive you as a stronger leader.

Many executives don’t realize that their nonverbal cues can undermine their attempt to appear in command. If you step back from others instead of leaning slightly toward them, you may seem nervous or unsure of yourself.

A confident pose, by contrast, creates a positive ripple effect. It can lead you to speak in a more resonant voice or make more reassuring eye contact with potential adversaries.

The first few minutes of an encounter are particularly important. If you enter a room and immediately fiddle with your smartphone, you lose a chance to establish a strong presence. Striding into a crowd and leaning a bit toward others while connecting with them eye-to-eye gives you an instant advantage.

— Adapted from “How ‘Power Poses” Can Help Your Career,” Sue Shellenbarger, The Wall Street Journal.

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