Life

Want to do well at work? You’d better learn to stand like a man, say scientists

Posted by
Harriet Hall
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We all know the importance of a power pose to assert one’s dominance at work – hell, George Osborne and Theresa May knew it so well they took it to the extreme at last year’s Conservative party conference (see below).

Now, scientists have released the findings of a study that suggest women stand in a typically masculine way, in order to be taken seriously at work.

The pose involves standing with feet, shoulder width apart, while using expansive hand gestures – a pose which is also said to bring people inner confidence before public speaking.

The study, conducted by scientists at University College London found that adopting this power pose was likely to make a huge difference in the way a woman is perceived at work – even if she makes no changes to her clothes or what she’s saying:

“It seems the way people look when words are spoken influences the way people interpret these words,” say the researchers.

power pose

George Osborne and Theresa May pulling out their power poses at party conference season 2015

Scientists came to their conclusions after conducting two studies. The first involved filming an actress delivering a short speech while standing in several different positions.

They then asked 1,500 viewers to rate the woman on everything from her appearance to her perceived intelligence.

A second experiment saw 500 volunteers watching actors and actresses delivering speeches in one of two positions: a power pose or a submissive stance (hands by their side and awkwardly swaying).

Volunteers said rated those in the power poses as more confident, convincing and inspiring, and said they’d be more likely to vote for them in an election.

Co-researcher of the study, Richard Newman, tells the Daily Mail that the findings could be particularly helpful for women – who are conditioned to stand in a ‘feminine’ manner:

“If women can overcome their cultural conditioning and communicate using a stronger style, it could significantly increase their impact and influence and overall success in the workplace.

“Gender should never be a barrier to your ideas being heard.”

But Newman insists that, although we are ‘born to stand with our feet apart’, the pose doesn’t come naturally to all, recommending women practice it in order to find the pose that feels the most natural:

“You have to practise it and do it in your own way. Everyone has their own style.”

Newman cites Beyoncé, Julia Roberts and Angelina Jolie, as examples of women who have nailed the power pose.