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Strike a Power Pose

[Adapted from original LinkedIn post, published 10.6.2016 by Erica Zahka - Founder/CEO Own The Boardroom]

Have you watched the 2012 TED Talk on Power Posing? I remember watching it a few years ago during a time when I was managing a team at work, and going to school in the evenings for my MBA. And it had an impact on me:

I swam in college, and as an athlete I had developed a routine for getting "in the zone" before my race. I think it's safe to say that all athletes have something that they do every time to prepare for their event. 

I saw Power Posing as the business version of a locker room pump-up routine.

Last month I read multiple articles, like this one from Fortune, announcing that one of the co-authors of the 'Power Posing' book, Dana Carney, no longer believes the effects are real.  Dana Carney is a researcher at UC Berkeley, and you can read her official statement here.

Some of the articles that I've read have a disappointed or upset tone because this new evidence points to holes in the original evidence, but my first reaction was confusion. I was confused when I saw this news because I've tried these power poses and I swear they worked! I've power-posed prior to tough conversations, before presentations and exams, and sometimes just to get back on track and focused. 

After each time, I walked out of that bathroom (because where else can you strike a pose in the middle of an open floor office?) feeling empowered, confident, and ready to "do this".

[Different types of power poses. Left to right: Stand straight, hands on hips, chest out; Sit with feet up, arms raised behind the head; Stand tall with your arms above your head, hands in fists]


It's important to note that I have zero scientific data to back up what I was feeling - I was not connected to any machines that were tracking my brain's reaction to the poses - however, using these power poses made me feel "in the zone", and to me that effect is real.

I understand that I'm most likely encountering the placebo effect, and that I feel better after these poses because I expect to feel better. But so what? I've decided that as long as it makes me feel energized and focused, I will keep on power posing.

Plus, with holiday season starting this week, power posing can be a feel-good addition to whatever pep-talk you give yourself in preparation for awkward family interactions!


What do you think of Power Posing? Have you ever tried it? Did it work for you?

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