How Does Posture Affect Other People’s Impression of You?
You might not realize it, but your posture has a huge impact on others’ perception of you. Reputation is greatly influenced by posture; poor posture can convey fear, lack of confidence or disrespect, while good posture can give off an impression of leadership and confidence. But how exactly can you convey these positive qualities?
Psychologists have found that when we want to feel in control, we stand up with our backs straight, maintain eye contact, and put our hands on our hips. This ‘strong posture’ has been proven to not only release hormones that make you feel confident and powerful but also give off an impression of self-confidence and leadership. In essence, this stance makes you larger, and as you take up more space, you appear more confident. If you want to build a reputation as a leader, adopt this posture. To get used to keeping your back straight, you may want to practice back decompression exercises to help keep your posture straight and your back loose.
Approachability and Trustworthiness
Posture can also help convey friendliness and honesty, which will make you appear trustworthy and approachable. The best ‘friendly’ posture is to keep your back straight, head neutral (so that you aren’t looking up or down at people) and maintain eye contact. For best results, you can also keep your palms exposed, which conveys a lack of aggression. While people may not notice these signs consciously, they will make you seem trustworthy and approachable. On the other hand, crossing your arms or hunching your shoulders creates a more closed off or guarded appearance, which seems less friendly to the casual observer.
While standing straight is the classic ‘strong posture,’ leaning forward can also be effective at times. When you lean towards someone during a conversation, it conveys an interest in what they’re saying. If you want to gain a reputation as someone who is a good listener and always ready to help, adopt this pose during important conversations. Eye contact is also important when you want to indicate interest. If you maintain eye contact with someone, you are conveying that you are focused on them. Be careful to avoid staring them down or looming over them, as these come off as intimidating.
By paying attention to these aspects of your posture, you can alter your reputation either positively or negatively. Follow these steps to appear friendly and approachable when you want to, or adopt the ‘strong’ pose when you need to take charge, and always try to avoid the aspects of negative posture to avoid sending the wrong impression.