Claim Your Space

powerposeswomenHarvard professor and researcher Amy Cuddy recently delivered an inspirational keynote address. This was of particular note as she wasn’t supposed to become a successful scientist. In fact, she wasn’t even supposed to finish her undergraduate degree. Early in her college career, Cuddy suffered a severe head injury in a car accident, and doctors said she would struggle to fully regain her mental capacity and finish her undergraduate degree, yet she persevered despite the original prognosis.

Cuddy’s research at Harvard Business School confirms that our body language communicates information to others that shapes their perceptions of us. It also communicates information to us that shapes our own self-concept. We can construct how powerful we feel by assuming expansive body poses.

In “Power Posing: Brief Nonverbal Displays Affect Neuroendocrine Levels and Risk Tolerance”, Cuddy shows that simply holding one’s body in expansive, high-power poses for as little as two-minutes stimulates higher levels of testosterone, the hormone linked to power and dominance in the animal and human worlds, and lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone that can, over time, cause impaired immune functioning, hypertension, and memory loss. These power poses led to an increased sense of power and risk tolerance.

In other words, Cuddy states that we can fake confidence and power by using expansive body language to change our body chemistry and our feelings. This is especially useful in preparing to speak to a group or in any situation where a self-assured image is important. Whether you face a challenging subordinate, a complex negotiation or a difficult relative, this is a quick way to gather your composure and tap into your power. Begin incorporating the pose into your daily practices, thereby reducing stress and adding greater self-assurance. Claim your space!

©MWeisner2017

Effective Body Language- Putting Your Best Self Forward

power-posesAccording to body language expert, Janine Driver, several key gestures can make a difference in how you are perceived. The following DO’s and DON’Ts are easy to picture and excellent reminders.

DO:
HOLD YOUR CHIN- It’s a thinking pose

DON’T:
PULL IN YOUR LIPS– Sucking in your lips suggests that you are holding back, perhaps attempting to hide something

DO:
STEEPLE YOUR FINGERS– Pressing fingertips to fingertips increases your authority

DON’T:
LOSE TRACK OF YOUR TILT– Tilting your head in serious situations makes you appear less believable. For general conversation, be aware of the direction of your tilt. To the right, you seem more attractive. To the left, you’re viewed to be more intelligent.

DO:
CROSS YOUR ARMS- It is a power position and makes you seem more standoffish. The action uses both sides of your body, engaging the logical left and creative right parts of your brain. Arm crossing makes us more likely to remain on a difficult task.

DON’T:
WRINKLE YOUR NOSE- It’s a universal sign of disgust

This is only a sampling and no doubt you can add many more gestures to the list, from making solid eye contact to leaning towards the person who is talking. But how close should you be and when does space become an invitation or a violation? Body language varies from culture to culture, so it’s important to learn what is most appropriate in a given group for your own comfort and that of others.
©Maureen Weisner 2017

Appearances DO Say A Lot

happy-woman-fotolia_12331389_subscription_xxlYour appearance has a direct effect on first, second, and third impressions. I recently attended a networking event and was introduced to an interior designer who looked as if she had just emerged from a wind tunnel on a rainy day. Would I ever hire her? That would be very unlikely. It was not a question of stylish attire or even an extenuating circumstance that might have occurred in the parking lot moments earlier. On the contrary, the designer seemed quite comfortable and eager to exchange business cards. It has been my experience that the external is also an expression of the internal and vice versa. Attention to detail is important and you will be judged on it well before you have an opportunity to even be introduced.

In business, the opinions of others matter. Business etiquette experts suggest you consider the following:

• Do my clothes conform to the company policy or do they push the limits? Too short, tight, low-cut or too loud?
• Are my clothes in good repair? Free of stains, odors, rips?
• Do I dress appropriately for the situation? Is the meeting at Starbucks or a private equity firm?
• Am I prepared for an emergency? Keep an extra outfit in the office, just in case.

Body language is an important part of overall appearance:

• Eye contact– do you look people in the eye. Focus on the area between the eyebrows rather than a stare down.
• Posture- Standing or sitting in an erect manner, conveys a confident image…no slouching
• Gestures– Lean slightly forward to demonstrate engagement and receptivity
• Nervous habits– foot tapping, fidgeting or other unnecessary movements give off a sense of uncertainty.

Advance preparation can make all the difference and you never know who you will be meeting in the course of your day.

©2015 Maureen Weisner

Effective Body Language

Adderall-shutterstock_170892518According to body language expert, Janine Driver, several key gestures can make a difference in how you are perceived. The following DO’s and DON’Ts are easy to picture and excellent reminders.

DO:
HOLD YOUR CHIN– It’s a thinking pose

DON’T:
PULL IN YOUR LIPS- Sucking in your lips suggests that you are holding  back, perhaps attempting to hide something

DO:
STEEPLE YOUR FINGERS- Pressing fingertips to fingertips increases your authority

DON’T:
LOSE TRACK OF YOUR TILT- Tilting your head in serious situations makes you appear less believable. For general conversation, be aware of the direction of your tilt. To the right, you seem more attractive. To the left, you’re viewed to be more intelligent.

DO:
CROSS YOUR ARMS- It is a power position and makes you seem more standoffish. The action uses both sides of your body, engaging the logical left and creative right parts of your brain. Arm crossing makes us more likely to remain on a difficult task.

DON’T:
WRINKLE YOUR NOSE- It’s a universal sign of disgust

This is only a sampling and no doubt you can add many more gestures to the list, from making solid eye contact to leaning towards the person who is talking. But how close should you be and when does space become a invitation or a violation? Body language varies from culture to culture, so it’s important to learn what is most appropriate in a given group for your own comfort and that of others.

 ©Maureen Weisner 2014

Appearances DO Say A Lot

MH900437551Your appearance has a direct effect on first, second, and third impressions. I recently attended a networking event and was introduced to an interior designer who looked as if she had just emerged from a wind tunnel on a rainy day. Would I ever hire her? That would be very unlikely. It was not a question of stylish attire or even an extenuating circumstance that might have occurred in the parking lot moments earlier. On the contrary, the designer seemed quite comfortable and eager to exchange business cards. It has been my experience that the external is also an expression of the internal and vice versa. Attention to detail is important and you will be judged on it well before you have an opportunity to even be introduced.

In business, the opinions of others matter. Business etiquette experts suggest you consider the following:

• Do my clothes conform to the company policy or do they push the limits? Too short, tight, low-cut or too loud?
• Are my clothes in good repair? Free of stains, odors, rips?
• Do I dress appropriately for the situation? Is the meeting at Starbucks or a private equity firm?
• Am I prepared for an emergency? Keep an extra outfit in the office, just in case.

Body language is an important part of overall appearance:

Eye contact– do you look people in the eye. Focus on the area between the eyebrows rather than a stare down.
• Posture- Standing or sitting in an erect manner, conveys a confident image…no slouching
• Gestures- Lean slightly forward to demonstrate engagement and receptivity
• Nervous habits– foot tapping, fidgeting or other unnecessary movements give off a sense of uncertainty.

Advance preparation can make all the difference and you never know who you will be meeting in the course of your day.

©2013 Maureen Weisner