Before Margaret Thatcher became prime minister of the United Kingdom, she went through extensive voice coaching designed to make her sound more powerful. The coaching did three things to her voice: It raised the pitch at which she spoke, it kept that pitch steady and it helped her vary the volume of her voice while she was talking.
Now a study just published in the journal Psychological Science by professors at San Diego State and Columbia Business School suggests that Thatcher may not have needed to go through all that coaching. Just imagining that you are in a position of power can result in modulations to your voice that will make others believe that you are indeed powerful.
“Subtle manipulations of power such as simply thinking about a time when you had power can give you a more dynamic voice that’s also in control,” says Adam Galinsky, a professor in the management division at Columbia who has spent the last 15 years publishing 150 articles on leadership, power and negotiations, among other topics. I’ve covered Galinsky’s work before, most recently in a post last year where I described a paper where he made a similar suggestion: Prep by imagining yourself in a position of power like running a club or if you’re a parent, disciplining your kids, and you will dramatically improve your performance in a job interview.
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