It has been said that, on average, it takes 7 seconds to make a first impression.
If you think that’s not a long time, psychologists Alexander Todorov and Janine Willis have suggested that it only takes one tenth of a second to make a judgement of somebody from their face. Whatever the figure, it doesn’t take long at all to make up our minds about someone. This is because, before we even open our mouths, our bodies are speaking on our behalf.
This is why correct posture and body language are so important.
So, what does YOUR posture say about YOU?
First impressions are important in the workplace, particularly when trying to win clients or impress in an interview situation.
From the way you shake somebody’s hand to the way you sit, stand and carry yourself, you are subconsciously giving off signals to other people and they are subconsciously making assumptions about you based on these signals.
Let’s take a look at a few postures and the different ways they could be perceived:
- Sitting slumped in a chair: gives the impression of boredom, a lack of confidence, laziness or negativity
- Standing with arms folded: could be seen as defensive, that you’re cold, or have a lack of self-esteem (trying to take up as little space as possible)
I’m sure in an interview situation these are not kind of vibes you want to be giving off to future employers!
So … how can you make sure your posture and body language are saying positive things about you?
Bad posture not only affects how you are perceived by others but can also have a huge effect on your health and mood. By correcting bad posture you can feel healthier and happier, which will in turn give off positive vibes to those around you.
Being aware of your posture and what it is saying is the easiest way to correct it.
By standing tall with your shoulders back and your arms relaxed by your side, you can give off an impression of confidence in an interview situation (even if you are feeling nervous on the inside).
The next time you are bored in a meeting but don’t want your boss to realise, sit up straight instead of slouching or resting your head on your hands. This will give the impression of alertness and positivity.
How to adopt a correct posture
Good posture will not only benefit your mood and the aura you give off, it can also prevent musculoskeletal injuries. Slouching in your chair can place unnecessary strain on your spine and the surrounding muscles and tissues, which could lead to the development of back or shoulder problems over time.
Sitting incorrectly at your desk can also cause no end of problems. Here are a few ways to adopt a better posture at your workstation:
- Use a headset when answering the telephone. This will avoid neck strain caused by cradling the phone when taking calls
- Exercise regularly. Regular exercise, such as Pilates, can strengthen your core muscles which can help you to sit up straight and avoid back injuries
- Make sure your keyboard isn’t too far away. Ideally your keyboard should be placed around 10cm from the edge of your desk. This will avoid overreaching when typing which can place strain on the shoulders, neck and back
We can come to your workplace to assess how you are sitting, show you how to adopt a good posture, make on the spot changes if necessary and make recommendations for ongoing changes.