10 Power Poses you Should Start Using at Work

They say that dance is the language of the body. Well, lose the tutu, dork, because ‘they’ – whoever they are – are wrong. By awkwardly flailing around in a furniture-less room isn’t going to help you get ahead. What is going to help you, however, is a good power pose. No, I’m not a CrossFit trainer, and power poses have nothing to do with CrossFit. I’m probably close to the opposite of a trainer; I only move when absolutely necessary. When I do actually stand up though, I strike a pose Madonna would be envious of – a power pose.  I think I’ve rambled on enough that you are now salivating for a point to be made. Well, hold on to your thermal underwear because here’s the point: power poses are poses that help you impose, assert yourself, and increase your confidence. It’s not only a psychological effect, though; your body actually reacts to a power pose by producing the douche-making hormone, testosterone, and lowers the neurotic-making (stress) hormone, cortisol. Here are 10 examples of poses that should lower your voice a few octaves.

1. Sleep like an Alpha

Yes, there are power poses even when you sleep. A basic tenet of the power pose is taking up space, as much space as your wiry birdlike frame can occupy. Lay on your back, legs extended (stop getting excited, and get your head out of the gutter. This isn’t the Kama Sutra), and put your hands behind your head. You can also assume the starfish position: lie on your back, stretch out your arms and legs like a… no, not like a giraffe smart-a**, like a starfish. See how your significant other likes that.

2. The Mr. Clean

For the non-American reader, there is a reference image below. This pose is the one you’ve seen in a million movies, even if you’re not American. Think of a cop that’s interrogating someone and they come to an impasse. The cop straightens up, rolls his shoulders back, and crosses his arms high on his chest. This is a pose that displays a strong negotiator. Be warned, though: if the other person does the Mr. Clean back, it might result in hours of awkward head nodding and ‘hmmm’ sounds.

3. Plant your Hands and Lean Forward

OK, so you’re partially justified for your sexual misinterpretation of this pose, I’ll give you that. But notice that it says ‘lean’ and not ‘bend,’ you deviant. This is a pose that you’ll see president of a company do while at the head of a table, especially when trying to make a point. He/she will stand up, place both hands on the table with a relatively wide distance between them, and lean forward. No, propping their legs against the wall while doing it will not increase the space they take up, but it will increase their chance of falling face first into a glass conference table. I appreciate you trying, though. [Pat on the head].

4. The Cowboy or the Obama

Think of the sheriff sitting on the porch of his office with his hands behind his head and legs up on a wooden truss, hat pulled down over his eyes. Obama has been seen (and photographed) many times assuming this pose while in the Oval Office. Luckily for White House visitors, President Obama doesn’t have a shotgun over his lap.

5. The Victor

Not the name Victor, but the title of victor. As in, “to the victor go the spoils.” The person that wins. Oh gosh, like you’re much more successful older sister. Finally, now that we are on the same page, to assume the victor position, plant your legs a bit wider than shoulder-length and stretch out your arms in a V shape above your head. I guess you could also call it the ‘Stick Up,’ but that wouldn’t inspire much confidence, would it?

6. The Spread Eagle

OK, I just gave you that one; have fun. Are you done giggling and snickering? Good. So, sit down with your legs spread apart and your arms stretched out, either over the back of an adjacent chair or your desk. You can even rest an elbow on the back of your own chair, put on a pair of black sunglasses, a black leather jacket, and hang a cigarette out of the side of your mouth. (Sidebar: don’t Google image search ‘sitting spread eagle.’ Most of what you’ll get will have NOTHING to do with the majestic bird, trust me…)

7. The Wonder Woman or (for the sexuality insecure) The Superman

This pose is simple; just square up your shoulders, puff out your chest and place either your fists or your hands on your hips. Most effective when interacting on a one-to-one basis; don’t stand next to the water-cooler while holding this pose in the hope that you will dominate every hippie water drinker in the office. If you’re still insecure about your sexuality, Mr. Macho, look at the image below, it will obliterate what remains of it.

8. The “I’ve got stomach problems”

This is another negotiation mannerism also known as the ‘Sexy Eyes’, when speaking squint you lower eye-lids a bit like you are looking into the sun or trying to hold in gas. This is especially convincing if you really are holding in gas.

For the last part, I will present you a few power poses of my own conception that will help you assert your dominance and prowess.

9. The Captain Morgan or the "Is there a draft in here?"

This is off of the rum brand of the same name. As the label shows, Captain Morgan looks salaciously at you with one leg up on a rum barrel and the other propped up on a sword. Although the dominance of this pose is mainly based on the fact that you will be carrying a deadly weapon, it can be replaced with less deadly accoutrements such as a baseball bat, a lead pipe, a hockey stick, or a cricket stick.

10. The fang-dangled

This is the most active of poses on the list but is bound to assert you as an Alpha. While across from the person you’d like to dominate, jump at them pushing out your pelvis towards them, land with your feet far apart and arms extended to your sides. Finish off by staring at the person across from you directly in the eyes and doing jazz hands. I guarantee 9 out 10 times the person will be so intimidated that they will awkwardly walk away.


Do you have a favorite power pose which I didn’t cover? Let me know in the comment section below.

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See also: How to Deal With Power-Hungry People at Work





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