Oh, you’re so powerful, Mr or Mrs or Ms Swoon

This isn’t me. I suspect it isn’t you, either. Creatives and artists are more focused on the work and worried about our neuroses than we are on jockeying for position and trying to make a splash in a company. But then we also regularly meet and rely on the people who do exactly this. So whether you want to appear powerful yourself or you’d just better recognise the signs in others, Time magazine has you covered:

Take up lots of space. MIT researcher Andy Yap says the way we stand and sit can give both those around us as well as ourselves the sense that we’re powerful. Specifically, what Yap calls “expansive poses,” where people adopt a wide stance when standing, put their hands on their hips instead of at their sides and stretch out their arms and legs when seated. “High-power posers experienced elevations in testosterone, decreases in cortisol, and increased feelings of power,” Yap writes. “That a person can, by assuming two simple 1-min poses, embody power and instantly become more powerful has real-world, actionable implications.”

Scientists who study the effects of these hormonal changes say they’re associated with status, leadership and dominance — and all you have to do is take up more space.

5 Scientifically Backed Ways to Seem More Powerful – Martha C. White, Time (21 July 2014)

Oh, someone please help me. Or someone please stop articles claiming science when they mean, at best, statistics. But there is another one of these five ways that rang a few bells with me: I’ve seen us doing this too:

Tap into the “red sneaker effect.” This is why Mark Zuckerberg can get away with wearing a hoodie. Researchers from Harvard Business School studied how sometimes looking out of place can have a positive effect. “Under certain conditions, nonconforming behaviors can be more beneficial than efforts to conform and can signal higher status and competence to others,” they write. (They give the example of someone wearing a pair of red sneakers in a professional setting as an example.) Since most of us try to conform to social norms, we tend to think that people who deliberately don’t do so because they have enough social status that they don’t have to care what the rest of us think.

I did know a guy who was considered a rebel at his company because he wore something like a Winnie-the-Pooh tie. I thought this told me a lot about the company.

Read the full piece

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