Look them in the eye
While someone is trying to determine what sort of person you are, they will be looking in your eyes. Maintain about 80% of your eye contact with a person by looking them square in the eye. You want to be seen as confident and self-assured and eye contact will do that for you. People who look away or appear shifty are not able to look someone in the eye.
Smile and the world smiles with you
No matter how nervous you are, how uncomfortable you are, how much you are sweating over the types of questions they are going to ask you, as long as you are smiling it gives you a chance to think, to make you look welcoming and for people to feel comfortable around you.
Stand tall and look the world straight in the eye
Slouching can be mistaken as not caring and having a slovenly attitude. There is no need to stand with a ram rod military bearing but a person who stands tall has confidence in oneself as a person.
Looking at Your Posture
In another post, I mentioned how sitting and standing can make you look domineering or submissive. In this post, I’ll talk about posture specifically because it is so important in terms of your sales success.
Good posture sends a likeability signal. It also looks confident (even when we don’t really feel that way!). It seems that posture has become less important over the past few generations, with more people becoming obese and tending to slouch. However, in sales (as in several other careers), posture really sends a message about you. Few of us exhibit really good posture most of the time.
Often, poor posture develops gradually. Signs of poor posture include any or all of the following items. Often, one sign of poor posture contributes to another. Any of them can also contribute to body pain.
- Weaken core muscles (the ones that stabilise your abdomen, lower back, and hips)
- Rounded shoulders
- Tilted hips (causing a swayback; visible if your belt sits lower in the front than in the back)
- Forward head posture (demonstrated when someone sits in their car and their head is forward from the headrest)
Working on Your Posture
There are lots of reasons that we develop poor posture, but one of the biggest factors is our core muscles. Weak core muscles come from a lack of exercise and prolonged periods of poor body positioning. Improving those muscles can help you develop better posture.
Before you start any exercise regime, you should consult your doctor. To motivate yourself, think of the boost to your health and your career, if you can transition from someone who has poor posture to someone who has a confident stance and takes care of themselves.
Here are some ways to improve your posture that you can incorporate into your regular exercise regime after you speak with your doctor (and perhaps an exercise therapist).
- Core strengthening exercises focus on your abdominal muscles, lower back, and hips. These can include stretches, yoga, crunches, swimming, etc.
- Rounded shoulders need support from strengthened weak upper back muscles as well as work on chest muscles, shoulders, laterals, and hips. As the upper back gets stronger and other areas loosen up, your shoulders will naturally move back where they belong.
- Tilted hips can be corrected with abdominal exercises and exercises that focus on the hamstrings and gluteal muscles.
- Forward head positioning comes from stooping during prolonged sitting, like we tend to do while watching TV, driving, and working in front of a computer or machinery. Exercise that corrects the weak and tight areas around your neck will allow you to stand and sit so that your ears are in line with your shoulders.
Unexpected results of standing straight
Standing up straight has added bonuses that you may not have considered
- As mentioned, you will appear more confident and more intelligent
- You will instantly look slimmer
- Clothing will fit you better- I have had clients complain their suit coats sagged only to have the sagging disappear as soon as their posture improved.
So there is nothing to lose by learning to stand up straight.
For more tips on how you can improve your personal brand there is a full 12 month program designed for graduates and anyone wanting to make a progression up the corporate ladder of success.