When a dog is threatened or wishes to be threatening, the hair stands up on his back and he bars his teeth. He may also growl. When a cat is threatened, his hair is apt to stand out over his whole body while he hisses. When a bird is threatened, it fluffs it’s feathers.
Why? Because they’re following an instinct to make themselves larger and more powerful.
It’s the same reason that a cop who wants to intimidate stands with his or her feet wide apart and elbows sticking out.
It’s the same reason why an effective leader or speaker stands up straight, with shoulders squared, and keeps eyes forward, making contact.
Would anyone listen to someone who slumped over the podium and delivered the speech to the floor? (Oh wait, now I just realized why a couple of the continuing ed classes I took were so useless.)
YOU can use the same tactics to give yourself confidence.
You may not want to assume an authority pose when you’re talking with clients in person – you might look a bit silly adopting a “cop stance.” But you can school yourself to avoid using a meek, submissive pose.
You can always stand or sit up straight, with shoulders relaxed, but squared. You can always keep your head up and look people in the eye.
Try “Power Posing.”
You can, privately, use “power posing” to give yourself a confidence boost prior to an important interaction with a client, a friend, or a family member.
Researchers have proven that you can make yourself happier by smiling even when you don’t feel like it. Others have proven that you can lift a down mood and reduce stress by sighing and turning your eyes skyward a few times. Now we’re learning that you can reduce your fear and increase your confidence by posing with confidence – even if you do it privately and only for a few minutes.
Here’s how it’s done:
First, find a private spot. If you’re working from your home office or have an office door you can close – wonderful. If not, find a private spot, even if it’s a stall in the rest room.
Your goal will be to make your body as big as it can be, so…
- Adopt a wide stance, then stand as tall as possible. (Streeetch yourself upward.)
- Reach your hands high in the air – just as if you just crossed the finish line in a big race.
- Or… put your hands on your hips with your elbows sticking way out.
- Hold that pose for 30 seconds.
And then… since anxiety over the coming meeting is probably what made you need a little extra confidence, do the “Sigh and look up” exercise. Just take a deep breath and let it out in a sigh, while turning your eyes to the sky. Repeat 3 or 4 times and you’ll be amazed at how much better you’ll feel within a few minutes.
Now put on a smile and make that call or go to that meeting. You’re ready!