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Power Body Language


Techniques > Using Body Language > Power Body Language

Greeting | Speaking | And... | See also


Power is often expressed in communication as a combination of strength and humanity. This is very attractive and is a form of Hurt and Rescue.



As the other person approaches, move to left side, extend your arm horizontally, palm down (be first to do this). Grab their palm firmly, pull them in and hold their elbow with your left hand.

The horizontal arm is an unmissable signal. Palm on top is being dominant, putting yourself on top. Holding the elbow further controls them.

The royal handshake is outstretched arm to keep the other at their distance. A limp hand, palm down, stops them doing a power shake.


Touching is power symbol. Touching people can be threatening, and is used by leaders to demonstrate power.

The handshake is, of course, a touch, and can lead to further touching, such as the elbow grip and patting shoulders and back.

Guide people with a palm in the small of the back. Greet them with a hand on the back. Touch them on the elbow or other 'safe' areas.



Talk with confidence and use the body beat in time with assertions. Beat with a finger, a palm or even a fist (which is rather aggressive). Emphasize and exaggerate your points.

Use silences too. Pause in the middle of speaking and look around at everyone. If you are not interrupted they are probably respecting your power. Stand confidently without speaking. Look around, gazing into people's eyes for slightly longer than usual.


It is powerful to show that you have emotion, but in the right place only. It shows you are human. At other times it emphasizes how you are in control. A neat trick is to bite the lower lip, as it shows both emotion and control (Bill Clinton did it 15 times in 2 minutes during the Monica Lewinsky 'confession').



Walk with exaggerated swinging of arms, palm down and out. Kink elbows outwards, making the body seem wider. Add a slight swagger.

When walking with others, be in front of them. When going through doors, if you are going to an audience, go first. If you are going from an audience, go last (guiding others through shows dominance).


Generally be higher. Sit on a higher chair. Stand over people. Wear heels. Drive a higher car.

See also

Dominant body language, Aggressive body language

Power, Theories about power

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