How Power Poses Can Build Confidence

Are you looking for a simple technique to help you be a more captivating and confident presenter? The Public Speaker explains how holding a power pose for just a few minutes can change how others view you and how you view yourself.

Lisa B. Marshall
3-minute read
Episode #290

Today, I’d like to talk about a very simple technique that research has proven will make you more captivating and confident and could improve the quality of your presentations. And it’s a technique I’d bet you're not currently using!

I’m talking about the art of power posing. By now, you may have seen Harvard Business School Professor, Amy Cuddy’s TedTalk “Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are.” In it, Cuddy’s message is simple:

Power posing for 2 minutes will change how others perceive you and how you perceive yourself.

Professor Cuddy discusses two different kinds of power poses, high power and low power. Her research shows that just two minutes of high power posing results in a 20% increase in testosterone and a 20% decrease in cortisol. Low power poses, on the other hand, produce the opposite effect.

But what are high power and low power poses? Let's find out.

High Power Poses

High power poses exude power and confidence. The most common high power poses are:

  • Tall and Proud: Lift up your arms in a V shape and elevate your chin. Hold the pose.

  • Wonder Woman: Put your hands powerfully on your hips, spread your legs wide, and shift your pose to make yourself feel bigger.

Other high power postures include:

  • Spreading your arms and body across two chairs. When you take up more space, you exhibit confidence.

  • Hands behind your head, leaning back in your chair.

  • Sitting with your hands behind your head and feet on the table.


About the Author

Lisa B. Marshall

Lisa B. Marshall Lisa holds masters with duel degrees in interpersonal/intercultural communication and organizational communication. She’s the author of Smart Talk: The Public Speaker's Guide to Success in Every Situation, as well as Ace Your Interview, Powerful Presenter, and Expert Presenter. Her work has been featured in CBS Money Watch, Ragan.com, Woman's Day, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and many others. Her institutional clients include Johns Hopkins Medicine, Harvard University, NY Academy of Science, University of Pennsylvania, Genentech, and Roche.