Perfect Posture Produces Powerful Presence

by DavalosMcCormack on January 14, 2011

We like to judge other people don’t we. We do it a lot,  even if we’re not aware of it half the time. Think about that next time you are sitting in a coffee shop, watching the others in line or coming in and out.  You start to make judgments about people just by the way they look, the way they hold themselves, the way they sit or stand.

It’s shallow. It’s silly. But it’s a lot of fun. It’s also very human. If someone walks in with a strong, erect posture, walking confidently, oozing confidence, it makes an impression on you.

Power of good posture

Well guess what? It’s also making an impression on them. A new study shows that a person’s posture can help them not just feel better, but it can also make them think and act in a more powerful way, and help influence the way others perceive them.

The study, published in the journal Psychological Science, used three different studies to measure the impact and influence a person’s posture had on what they called “power related behaviours”. You can read the details of the experiments here.

They found that when people adopted open or expansive postures – ones associated with confidence and power such as standing up straight with shoulders back and chest out – they behaved and even thought differently than when they adopted closed or restricted postures – such as standing with shoulders slumped or head looking down.

It make sense. Think about how you react when you see someone who is standing in a kind of curled up position with rounded shoulders and head held down – you think they’re scared or timid.

Change your posture change your mind

The really interesting part is that having good posture didn’t just influence how others saw them, it also influenced how they saw themselves and made them act in a more powerful way.  So, just as pretending to smile can actually boost your mood and increase your level of happiness, so pretending to be powerful can make you act and think that way.

It’s almost as if  by getting our bodies to act the way we want to be,  we can then get our minds to  start behaving that way.

Think about how useful that can be if you have a job interview or a meeting with someone you are trying to impress. Even if you are nervous – and let’s face it who isn’t when there’s a lot at stake – you can overcome those fears and make a big impression just by having a strong posture. Get  your body in the right position and your brain will follow.

Fascinating isn’t it.

But remember this. If you are watching other people when they walk into a coffee shop or enter the room and are judging them based on how they look and hold themselves, the odds are they’re doing the same to you. Particularly that really cute person in the corner. And if that doesn’t get you to stand up straight nothing will.

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