The boss report: How to exude power

Want to gain the upper hand at work? It turns out that when it comes to exuding power, it's all in the details.

The Boss report: 2006 | 2005

Intro | The vanishing boss | The leader of tomorrow | Staying healthy | Tricks for communicating | How to exude power

Exuding power in the workplace is easy, if you have CEO in your title. But what if you're a few (or many) rungs down on the corporate ladder? Follow these tips from Gloria Starr, who runs the Executive Finishing School in Charlotte, N.C., and Jeff Farbstein, the vice-president of general merchandise at Harry Rosen, for a commanding presence regardless of your pay grade.

Power space

– Know that theory that says geniuses are messy? Forget about it. Keep your area neat and tidy.

– Ditch the replica Star Trek phaser, the Magic 8-Ball or any other kitschy items around your desk.

Power moves

– When shaking hands, be the first to extend your arm. You'll appear to be the person in charge — and rightfully so.

– Keep your emotions in check. Grown executives don't swear, sob or succumb to temper tantrums.

– Wear glasses? Slip them off and gesture with them, when you want to emphasize one of your many brilliant points.

– Walk like you own the joint, using long fluid strides, with your shoulders back.

– In meetings, casually arrange your hands in a steeple-like position. (Note: use judiciously or you'll risk drawing comparisons between yourself and The Simpsons' Mr. Burns.)

Power talk

– Train your colleagues to hang on your every word, by speaking sparingly but insightfully during meetings.

– Never end your sentences with an upward inflection in your voice. You'll seem unsure of yourself if you do.

– When you screw up, briefly apologize but don't explain or complain — you're not in elementary school anymore, despite the childish behaviour that may be going on around you.

Power look

– Suit up in traditional colours like navy or charcoal, but separate yourself from those doomed to middle management with a brand like Ermenegildo Zegna or Canali. Showcase your confidence with a dandy shirt, tie and pocket square combination.