Here’s a career tip straight from Harvard Business school. Your success could depend on your posture. 

Harvard Business School professor Dr. Amy Cuddy says if you appear confident and in charge - like by standing straight and taking up space - people will automatically think of you as confident and in charge. And that’ll put you on the career fast track. 

Meanwhile, if you hunch over or slouch – you’ll be viewed as weak and unsuccessful - even if you write the best expense reports or marketing materials in town.

And science backs it up. A Harvard University study had one group of volunteers pose in “high power” positions, say, with their arms open and feet up on a desk. And another group of volunteers posed in “low power” positions, like, hunched over. 

The result? High power posers’ testosterone levels jumped, which is linked with dominance, and competitive drive. And their levels of the stress hormone cortisol dropped. Meanwhile, people with low-power posture had the exact opposite blood chemistry. 

And these poses have primal origins. For example, the tendency to hunch over and make yourself small, is what primates do in the wild, to protect themselves against rivals – so they don’t seem threatening. 

So, here are some quick body language moves to get you in power mode, so you’re telegraphing confidence: 

  • First: In a meeting, keep your hands on the desk – or the armrests of your chair. Having your hands exposed is sign that you’re open and not hiding anything.

  • Or if you’re standing, put your hands on your hips so you’re taking up more room. That stance means “I’m in charge.” Police officers are taught to use it to assert control.