The death of the power pose: no more standing like Beyonc

At last years Tory party conference, half the cabinet were mocked for their power poses and now even one of the theorys proponents is saying it is nonsense

Name: The Power Pose.

Age: Six. The idea originated in 2010 in a paper, published in the journal Psychological Science, called: Power Posing: Brief Nonverbal Displays Affect Neuroendocrine Levels and Risk Tolerance.

Catchy title. You know what these academics are like.

Appearance: Big very big. Spread your hands and legs wide, argued the authors, and you will both exude power and this was the new finding feel great. Adopt a power pose and your testosterone rises and your stress levels fall. Or, as columnist David Brooks neatly put it: If you act powerfully, you will begin to think powerfully.

Sounds plausible. Indeed. One of the studys three authors, Harvard business school prof Amy Cuddy, gave a hugely popular TED talk on the subject in 2012, and in 2015 wrote a bestselling book called Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges.

Is this something to do with that weird open-legged stance George Osborneadopted? It is indeed. And not just George. Most of the cabinet, which must have gone to some open-legged awayday to learn the technique, used the strange splayed-legged, open-armed approach, and were mercilessly mocked for it. Some critics reckoned it made them look like Beyonc; others thought the inspiration might be John Wayne.

And now? Well, thats the odd thing. One of the original reports three authors, Dana Carney, says it was all nonsense. I do not believe that power pose effects are real, she wrote in a blog that detailed the original researchs methodological failings. Standing like John Wayne in a gunfight does not make you feel like a successful gunslinger. It just makes you look silly.

What does Cuddy say? Nothing so far. The world and all those management coaching companies that use power pose techniques waits with bated breath.

And splayed legs and open arms? Yes, of course.

And Cameron and Osborne? Well, they now look even dafter. As well as losing the EU referendum, the uncomfortable stance they adopted during it was based on dodgy science.

Not to be confused with: Jacket off, rolled-up sleeves, striding round the stage like a maniac, and all the other presentational fads desperate politicians jump on.

Dont stand: Like Superman and Wonder Woman.

Do stand: More or less normally.

Read more:

Comments are closed.

Copyright © EP4 Blog