What Does Alpha mean? Can anyone have Alpha Male Power? 10 Ways to Look and Feel More Alpha Power

What Does Alpha mean? Can anyone have Alpha Male Power? 
10 Ways to Look and Feel More Alpha.

The First letter of the Greek Alphabet Alpha in language is used to define someone’s position in social hierarchy. A specific example is "alpha males" or pack leaders. Pack Leaders say what they want and get what they want and they guide the team. Here what you need to look like and sound like to have Alpha Power. 

We all understand the idea of power in first impressions, because we've all experienced it. You walk up to somebody and shake hands and both of you notice who has the more powerful handshake. Alpha power in a handshake is based on factors such as who initiates first, who clasps hardest, uses the other hand to grip and or whose hand is on top etc. When we first meet someone we notice other power or alpha gaining behaviors such as who makes the  initial eye contact and who is staring intently rather than breaking eye contact first. From the first impression, we’re deciding who is going to have more power, who will be Alpha.

You may be thinking this jousting for power is only possible for men or only maintained by the  “Alpha male.” But you don’t have to be male or strong to be powerful.  The power first impression will tell you who is going to run things or whether you’re going to work as equals. But being “Alpha” is only part of power. When you are powerful and confident, anyone can change their nonverbal communication to feel and look more in command. If you do things like hold yourself up and out,  take up more space, and hold your  body windows open you can begin to feel Alpha.

I would be remiss if I did not admit that some things that generate a power impression are permanently set. Tall people are automatically given more power. Height and bulk get people more power and research shows that people with lower, deeper voices also are more apt to have power. If you don’t have these physical attributes, you have to work on it.

I’m a short (5’2”), blond woman. Early in life and career, I wasn’t seen as a credible information source even though I was an expert. I was the short blond girl. I wasn’t given attention, so I learned very early to do certain things. I made my body “bigger” by making my gestures large and sweeping outward,  and making my voice lower and louder and many other subtle cues. I learned very quickly that this helped people recognize that I was “alpha” in the situation. So they booked me as a speaker and consultant.

In the same way, I teach people who are already really tall or big how to soften their appearance. Sometimes the power can be so overwhelming that people back down, back away or don’t even interact. So we also have ways to soften the edge of intimidating power.

Alpha Power is Determined by:
1.       Who initiates contact or touches the other person first.
2.      Who gives a dominant greeting - Alpha power in a handshake is based on factors such as who initiates first, who clasps hardest, who uses the other hand to grip (The higher on the other persons arm the non- shaking hand goes the more power the Alpha power seeker gets. So if you take the extra hand and grip the shoulder of the other person you will gain power. You may look like a jerk, but you will gain power.) and or whose hand is on top and other factors.
3.      Who gives prolonged unblinking eye contact. Not creepy leering. Strong confident eye contact.
4.      Who speaks first. That is in normal interactions. In interactions like a sales person calling on a top level manager, the sales calls some powerful person MAKES the lower status person speak first or may show his or her power by waiting to speak.
5.      Who speaks the loudest – There are exceptions to this rule. Think Marlon Brando in the Godfather or Apocalypse.
6.      Who speaks the most. Again pausing after someone makes a request of you can give you some power, and good listeners can be incredibly powerful but in most interactions the higher status is assigned to the person who talks the most.
7.      Who interrupts the most – I hate that that is true, but that’s what the research says.
8.     Who invades the other person’s space and takes up the most space. invading and taking up the most space.
9.      Who takes the prominent seat –Look at my blog on the power seat or get my book SNAP Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma to get more information on the power seat.
10.  Who is comfortable breaking rules -Break the rules and  establish your own rules. Breaking rules like turn taking, or nonverbal rules like who talks first.

If you have read the Ten Ways to Be Alpha  you may also realize that if your not very careful they could become the ten ways to look like a jerk. 

Imagine a stranger going over the top with these behaviors. He gets up you your face and sticks out his hand, grips your hand savagely and doesn't let go, yells,"Hi ya," does not let go stares and talks loudly without letting your speak, takes your seat and doesn't let you are anyone one else have a turn speaking at the meeting.

 Now imagine you use the alpha cues instead to initiate a warm greeting, listen, but speak up as well as you have some small talk.
Choose a good seat. Take up space at your seat.  Make your ideas an opinions known and comment on others ideas enthusiastically. Linger at the end and visit some more and shake everyone's hand and or let them know what was great about them and or the meeting. 

Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at www.PattiWood.net. Check out Patti's website for her new book "SNAP, Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma" at www.snapfirstimpressions.com. Also check out Patti's YouTube channel at http://youtube.com/user/bodylanguageexpert.