Adopting a powerful posture leads individuals to feel more confident and dominant. Social exclusion can strongly impact individuals' mood and basic social needs. The current research combines these bodies of research, investigating the effects of dominant and submissive poses on responses to social exclusion and inclusion. In two experiments, participants held a slouching or upright pose and were either socially included or excluded using the Cyberball social exclusion manipulation. Social exclusion only affected participants' mood when individuals took a powerful posture: Excluded participants in powerful postures had more negative mood after exclusion than included power‐posing participants, but effects of exclusion and inclusion did not differ among submissive‐posing participants (Experiments 1 and 2). Similarly, it was also found that social exclusion affected basic needs only when participants' adopted powerful poses (Experiment 2). Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.