Posing and Confidence

by DanB

It’s interesting. One of my ongoing study areas is communication of all types. The subject of non-verbal communication is quite interesting but also the subject of much misinformation.

Recently a friend sent me an interesting study on the effects of “posing” on our internal states and behavior. In a nutshell we know that when people celebrate a victory they will do certain things. Pump their fists, jump up and down, yell, hug others, high fives, and all sorts of other things. What they study found is if researchers posed people they would begin to adopt the attitudes and emotions that the poses suggested. In other words if you were posed in the position of someone celebrating you would begin feeling and acting as if you were celebrating yourself.

The full title of the study was Power Posing: Brief Nonverbal Displays Affect Neuroendocrine Levels and Risk Tolerance. The study is pretty detailed and technical. Only click this link if you want all the details:


Now this is nothing new. I studied NLP in 1980′s and it was an early example we used. There just wasn’t a corresponding study to support it. There we would find “models” or examples of people experiencing what we would like to experience. By studying and putting yourself into similar physiological positions you can experience some of the emotions of the moment.

You can try this yourself. Just find photographs on the Internet of people celebrating for instance. Pick one and adopt the same pose. Pay particular attention to muscle tension and direction. Chances are good you will begin feeling the exhilaration they are experiencing.

Click here now for Google images of Tiger Woods celebrating

Try a few of those on for size. This is fun to do with children too. Take it a step further though. Find a few poses that let you feel good that you can use even in a stressful situation.

This brings me to the second part of this. I was pointed toward a researcher who studied “Power Posing”. Her talk is interesting and worth your time. Especially if you take into consideration what I just talked about. Here are two videos featuring Amy Cuddy. They cover the same basic material but the first video is about 5 minutes long and the second 20. The short video emphasizes “Power Posing” and the second is more concerned with how your body language affects you personally. I think you will find both interesting.

Short video on Power Posing

Long video on non-verbal communication

Have you had experience in these areas? Share your thoughts below.


  • Doug Wedding

    here is a good one to try out… watch one of those TV All Star Poker games with the volume turned down.
    Another one to try is watch the nightly news with the volume down and see if you can guess the stock icon shown before they show it.
    Go to really loud bars and try to read lips. ex. I’m going to pee… then that person gets up and goes to the bathroom. Bingo you scored one. I’ll have pizza for dinner, then the waiter brings a pizza, bingo 2 pts.
    and finally keep your self alive in bad neighborhoods by having to watch an aproaching person on the street and then watch how you handle the crazies (the old ‘dogs smell fear deal)…
    -If I could only have 2 skills it would be common sense and body language. – Doug Wedding

  • Tiger Woods

    I tried the tiger woods thing, and i was really surprised at how fun it was!

  • Old Man

    Years ago I became a Realtor Associate. I dressed the part, talked the talk, drove the expensive vehicle, and in general acted like a successful agent. My confident attitude gave my clients confidence in me. Before you’d think it could happen, I was a successful agent. The whole world is a stage, and we are the actors. I have “acted” many roles in my 70 years. Right now I am acting the part of a retiree.

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