A few weeks ago, I reported on a new study about an easy voice trick to use when you want people to take what you’re saying more seriously. This must be a pretty popular topic because now there’s another new study that shows you how to get people to pay more attention to what you’re telling them–and this time it’s by using your body posture and hands.
Turns out, when you adopt a “power pose”–which is one where you take up a lot of physical space and look dominant, for example, standing with your legs at least shoulder-width apart and you use your hands to gesture as you talk–you’re perceived by others as someone who’s a leader and more convincing, confident and knowledgeable than when you take up less physical space–for example, standing with your feet together and keeping your hands at your sides or clasped in front of you–even when you’re saying the same words and wearing the same attire, according to researchers reporting in the journal Psychology. Why? A bigger physical presence tells people you’re in command while shrinking sends the message that you’re more passive.
What I find especially interesting about this study is that it ties in with past research that shows adopting a power pose actually has a profound hormonal effect: It prompts a surge of testosterone in you, which is a hormone that revs your feelings of power and confidence.
This means that whenever you need to persuade someone–say, on a job interview, during a meeting, when giving a lecture or in an argument–adopting a dominant pose and gestures not only builds your own confidence, helping you be a more persuasive speaker, it makes others see you as someone they should be following, so they’re more likely to be convinced by what you’re saying.
When you see me giving Hormonology talks in person in your town, you better believe I’ll be using this easy tip. (And you can totally call me out on it!) And, if you try it yourself, let me know if it helps you, too!
[Photo: Nathan Rupert]