Science Says These 3 Songs Make Workers Feel Productive and Powerful

Rock that meeting. Literally.

Maskot/Getty Images
Maskot/Getty Images

Music has long been known to tame the beast. Whether it’s a calming track to help you meditate, an upbeat sing-along type to get the party going, or an enlivening pop song to get you ready for the gym, you use music all the time.

Now, a group of social scientists has explored the answer to an important question when it comes to music:

Can listening to the right kind make you feel more powerful?

There are a lot of times we need to show up as our best, most powerful selves — even when we might not feel like it inside. A few examples: heading into a performance review, having a particularly difficult conversation with a client, giving an important presentation for the first time, or the big one … board meetings.

Wouldn’t it be great if there was something you could do right beforehand to boost your confidence in eight minutes or less?

Researchers out of the Kellogg School of Management say there is.

Inspired by the way athletes often show up big games with headphones on, as though the music they listen to before performing becomes part of their armor, professors out of Kellogg, Columbia Business School, and the University of Hong Kong teamed up to determine whether music really does affect a person’s experience of power.

Their research process was simple: In one group, each participant heard a bunch of different songs, then rated each track on a seven-point scale as to how powerful they felt after hearing them.

In another, each participant heard the songs, then filled in blanks in certain word fragments. This was to test the more subliminal associations a song prompted a person to feel. Or, as one researcher said, “Because participants were instructed to complete fragments with the first word that came to mind, the study suggests that the empowering effects of music may be somewhat unconscious and automatic.”

The results? Yes indeed, certain tracks will make you feel more powerful, dominant, and determined. Others will leave you cold.

The researchers compiled a least-effective song list (aka the “low-power” list) and the most effective, which became — you guessed it — the “high-power” list.

What are the big, powerful winners? You might laugh, but you might also want to be sure to have them on hand to listen to right before you need to dominate something:

  1. “We Will Rock You” by Queen
  2. “Get Ready for This” by Unlimited
  3. “In Da Club” by 50 Cent

I made a free public playlist of them on Spotify (the whole list only takes 8:15 to listen to).

Now go rock out and roll into that meeting on a high note.

Originally published at

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