As told to Karen Weise


Power, dominance, and status are displayed through specific behaviors. When chimpanzees prepare for battle, they puff up their chests and try to appear bigger even if no other chimps are paying attention. When people feel powerful, their limbs are more open and their body language is more expansive. They literally take up more space. Postures aren’t just an expression of how we feel. They can also inform the brain by changing our physiology. If you hold an open and expansive pose for a few minutes before an important situation, it can increase the dominance hormone testosterone and decrease the stress hormone cortisol. Before facing a nerve-racking interview or speech, try these postures to start a physiological, psychological, and emotional cascade that will let your body better endure stress and increase your powers of persuasion. • Carney is an assistant professor at University of California Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.

Channel Wonder Woman: Open your torso by putting your hands on your hips, and take a wide stance to expand your lower body. You can do this in the elevator on the way up to an important meeting.

Take a firm, broad stance and expand your upper body. Even tenting your hands will help by allowing space between your palm and the table.

Sit with one hand around another chair and your other hand on the outside of the armrest to expand your chest. Be sure not to cross your legs too tightly.

The CEO pose lets you stretch out and take up more space. Open your elbows wide and kick back.

Take big steps to lengthen your stride and move your arms front to back, with your elbows slightly out, to create space between your arms and body.


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