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Can Good Posture Leave a Better First Impression?

It takes less than six seconds to leave a first impression. It is said that we ought not judge a book by its cover, but come on, isn’t it the color, the design, the layout, and title that draws us to pick up a book we’ve never heard of before? Notice what your assumptions are about a person when you are first introduced to her or him. Spend some time people-watching and notice the assumptions you make. Is most of what you hear yourself saying negative or positive?

Something that most of us don’t take notice is how we stand or walk. The military requires soldiers to have the best postures. Why do you suppose the military trains its soldiers to march straight and tall? What possible difference can standing tall make?

Let’s say you are going for a job interview or you are networking at an event to build your business. Within seconds you have already said a lot about yourself by the way you walk. The unseen that surrounds you is the energy you are radiating which comes from your attitude and self-esteem. The seen part is your body language. How you stand and walk says volumes about you before you even say a word. The majority of us walk around everyday without paying any attention to what we are saying even though we are not uttering a word. There is a lot that can be said about body language from the clothes you wear to the gestures you make.

I took notice of this topic recently as I recalled something about changing my posture to improve my level of confidence. I was about to venture on a new project, which would take me out of my comfort zone. My gremlins were having a field day with me uttering all kinds of reasons why I couldn’t do a good job with this new opportunity. I tucked in my tummy, put my shoulders back, held my head high, and took a walk. Soon thereafter, I felt so much better. I approached the project with new zest and possibility. Wow, what a difference! Try it!

Practice standing with tummy tucked in, shoulder blades reaching to touch each other, chin up, and looking straight ahead. This exercise is quite effective regardless of body size. For those of you looking to lose weight, standing more erect gives the impression you have lost five to 15 pounds, depending on your current weight. Since pulling in my tummy and walking straighter, my friends are asking me if I lost weight. It’s so simple! It is also healthier. Walking tall may even give you the momentum to start exercising and eating more moderately if you so wish.

The ability to capture your audience when you walk into a room is sure to start you off on the right foot when going on an interview or making a presentation to prospective clients. Non-verbal signals have five times the impact of verbal signals. So you can count on losing your audience when you walk in with head down dragging your feet regardless how much you try to change it. This is a small step in making a big impression in your non-verbal communication.

Questions have the answers:

  • What can be improved in the way you stand and walk?
  • When you stand and walk erect what do you notice?
  • When you slouch what does it feel like compared to standing erect?
  • What is your assessment of someone who slouches?
  • What is the posture of the leaders you admire?
  • What benefits would “standing tall” have when going on an interview?

  • Here’s a Web site with great content and demonstrations on “Correct Posture”
  • Correct posture can actually help you be calmer and more relaxed, which is the way you want to be on an interview or making a presentation. This can actually be put to the test. Check out the above website to see how.
  • Listen to your body and feel the power as you individualize your “standing tall”
  • Do you know that it is impossible to be depressed with correct posture and chin up? Try it!
  • Remember to stand tall and anything is possible

By Theresa-Maria Napa of WomenCo. 

Updated March 14, 2011