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Power Pose Disasters

Another day: another Tory disaster. Another day: another Power Pose Disaster. The two really are connected because for some reason, Tory, Power Pose and Disaster should be in the same sentence. Oddly there is someone in the Conservatives HQ who has failed to appreciate that standing with your legs very far apart is a) not a standard power pose and b) makes the politician look like an idiot. So why are they still doing this?

The Power Pose was identified by Social Psychologist Amy Cuddy   

Her work is related to how others perceive you through your body language, but also how you can change your own mental state: confidence or anxiety, through your posture and body language. Cuddy identified stress hormones in individuals who had closed body language, and endorphins – hormones that make you feel confident, in open, ‘power poses’. This is her research paper on the concept. Cuddy also delivered a TED Talk which may have led to some ‘misuse’ and misunderstandings of the whole power pose concept.

I have been at events where speakers have adopted a similar posture to the Tory MPS above. They have told the audience that they are in a ‘POWER POSE’ and this identifies them as ALPHA. In fact they look like idiots. I have also been at events where public speaking and communication specialists have invited the audience to adopt the “Super Woman” Power Pose ‘Because it will make you feel confident” but don’t tell you the secret of using this: you don’t adopt the pose on stage. You do this before as part of your preparation.

And this is the rub: when you stand with your feet very far apart, it is uncomfortable. You struggle to maintain your balance. But most significantly, you look like a twit on stage, rather than an ALPHA male or female. Whoever is advising senior individuals and politicians to stand with their feet very far apart is not doing their job correctly. You do the Superman power pose off stage to prepare yourself. Otherwise it becomes a power pose disaster.

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