Your colleague who just landed the spacious office at the end of the hall didn’t snatch the prime piece of real estate because he called dibs, or even because he outworked you. No, he’s got … it. And you don’t.
You can’t climb the corporate ladder without hustle and smarts, but those factors will only take you so far. Harvard researchers find that people who project power are more likely to get hired, and scientists at the University of California say that confident, self-assured employees have more success in the workplace than those who are simply talented.
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The good news: It doesn’t take much to exude authority, poise, and a little intimidation. Use these seven nonverbal tricks every day, and you’ll be shopping for leather couches in no time. Spartan is here with career advice designed especially for our racers.
Power Trick #1: Hold This Pose
Do this before every important meeting: Recline in your chair, kick up your feet, and put your hands behind your head, like you’ve just pulled off the deal of the century and your wheelbarrows of money will be arriving any minute. Columbia and Harvard researchers say keeping this pose for 2 minutes doesn’t just make you more confident—it also boosts testosterone (in men and women) and lowers your stress hormones.
Power Trick #2: Open Your Body
Sitting down and talking shop? Spread out your knees and put your arm around the back of a chair. Stanford University research shows opening your body like this will make you appear more powerful than if you were to cross your arms and legs.
The reason: “Expanding your posture demonstrates that you’re in control,” says Marc Salem, Ph.D., a mentalist and body language expert. “Evolutionarily speaking, this signals that we are totally relaxed in the face of our opposition.”
A bit of extra career advice: Spread out your notes, folders, and personal items on the conference room table for the same effect.
Power Trick #3: Shut Off Your Phone …
Staring at your phone isn’t just hurting your eyesight—it’s damaging your reputation, too. Researchers at Harvard suggest that people who are glued to their devices come across as wimps.
When you hunch over to look at your phone, you give off bad posture and look less assertive, the study suggests. Fix your posture by standing up straight with your chest out. Other people will see you as more authoritative and you’ll also feel more powerful, finds a study in Psychological Science.
Power Trick #4: … But Don’t Put It Down
That being said, you should still hold your phone—or a coffee cup, briefcase, or pen—in one hand while you’re talking with your coworkers, says Salem. Consider these objects subtle security blankets that protect you from the threat of others, he says. “And more protection means more power.”
While you’re at it, tell everyone else to put their phones in the middle of the table, right in front of you. “When you take away their security blankets,” Salem says, “you now have all the control.”
Power Trick #5: Make Your Colleagues Squint
Holding a big meeting? Sit in front of a window or bright lamp, so that your guests are facing the light source. “They’ll either only be able to see your silhouette, or even better, they’ll be squinting and feeling uncomfortable,” says Salem. “This puts them at a completely powerless disadvantage.”
You should also find a meeting room with hard, wooden chairs—“to make your guests squirm,” Salem says—or cushy seats. “That way they’ll sink into submission,” he says. “They’ll literally and figuratively feel beneath you.”
Power Trick #6: Walk with Confidence
Career advice made easy: Keep your chin up and shoulders back and take long, brisk strides, says Salem. “When you walk with a purpose, it looks like you know where you’re going and what the hell you’re doing,” he says. On the flip side, a Japanese study shows that people who walk slow and take short strides are seen as more vulnerable and prone to an attack.
Power Trick #7: Buy a Week’s Worth of Red Ties
There’s a reason why Donald Trump always sports a long, red tie: The color commands your attention, Salem says. Why? “Because it’s the color of blood. We stop what whatever we’re doing as soon as we see red.”
Take a cue from the prez: In a study in the *Journal of Experimental Psychology, *the subjects found people wearing red more powerful than those donning any other colors. Bonus: Red makes you look more attractive, too.
Following these seven career advice tips will allow you too feel confident and powerful in the office (and if you’re hoping to become a more powerful athlete, we have some advice for that, too).