By Aesha Tahir Corporate Wellness Consultant | Coach | Author | Speaker
I was thrilled to see that Jason was promoted to the chief marketing officer position he had been working towards for the past three years. As his coach, I was delighted to witness his success. When Jason first came to me, he had shoulder pain due to his rounded shoulder posture. His improved physical posture played a significant role in his promotion interview. While it’s rewarding to help my clients improve their physical health, it’s even more fulfilling to see them become empowered. I’ve noticed that my clients’ health and wellness are often linked to their career success. It’s a privilege to witness these kinds of transformations.
Your posture can be the secret to achieving greater success when used correctly. It can help you build positive business relationships, motivate your team, boost productivity, foster team bonding, and deliver your ideas with more impact as an entrepreneur. In my experience as a movement specialist there are three ways in which our posture affects our personal brand.
Boosts Confidence: Poor posture is often linked to back pain, but its affects are far reaching than that. Maintaining an upright posture can trigger physiological changes that enhance our confidence. These changes occur in the form of hormones, including increased levels of testosterone and decreased levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) in our body. By aligning our spine and nervous system, maintaining an unhunched posture can help us feel more powerful and dominant.
Proper posture not only helps reduce healthcare costs for organizations but also provides emotional health benefits for employees, like higher confidence. By promoting good posture, employers can help keep their workforce healthy, happy, and productive.
Higher Self-Esteem: Maintaining an upright posture results in higher self-esteem. In a study conducted at Ohio State University, students were asked to either sit up straight with an open chest or sit hunched over with their gaze down. They were then instructed to fill out a job application where they listed three positive or negative personality traits that would impact their job satisfaction and performance. After completing the application, the students rated their confidence in their professional abilities and the likelihood of landing the job. Interestingly, the students’ confidence levels varied depending on their posture. Those in an unhunched posture felt more confident about the positive traits they listed, while those in a hunched-over stance lacked confidence in their ability to perform the job. Maintaining an upright position can help us believe in our positive traits and empower us with an optimistic outlook on our abilities.
Resilience to Stress: In times of crisis, team members rely on their business leaders to remain calm and make deliberate decisions. Business owners who can manage stress effectively are highly valued. According to scientists, sitting upright is a simple way to build resilience to stress.
A study conducted at University of Auckland investigated the relationship between postural behavior and psychological distress. The scientists found that participants with an unhunched posture reported higher self-esteem, better mood, and less fear when presented with stressful situations compared to hunched up participants. Maintaining an unhunched posture can help build resilience to stress.
An upright posture is an ingredient for self-confidence, higher self-esteem, less stress reactivity, and empowering thoughts. As a business owner you can use your posture to project confidence, credibility, and your unique brand of charisma, here are a few tips for leveraging your posture effectively during business meetings:
Power Pose: Height and space are nonverbal cues that convey power, status, and confidence. By maintaining an erect posture, keeping your shoulders back, and holding your head high, you can project a sense of self-assurance. To practice open and tall posture, try setting reminders throughout the workday. You can use a timer or post-it notes to prompt yourself to assume an expansive posture for two-minute intervals. This can help rewire your brain to take up more space. Additionally, make power posing a priority before business meetings.
Look Up to Level Up Your Thoughts: Maintaining eye contact is an important aspect of business communication in many parts of the world, including the US, Europe, and Australia. Experts recommend maintaining eye contact for 50-60% of the time to convey engagement and attentiveness.
To improve your ability to maintain eye contact, try practicing leveled eyesight throughout your workday. Position your monitor an inch or two above your eye level so that you can sit tall in your chair. Adjust your rear-view mirror slightly higher, so you drive in an unhunched position. By doing so, you are more likely to keep your gaze leveled during the business meetings and conveying confidence and authority in your business interactions.
Establish Trust with Your Hands: Establishing trust is essential in business meetings, and one way to do so is by keeping your hands visible. Politicians often use hand gestures during their speeches for this reason. Research has shown that using our hands can activate the Broca’s area of our brain, which is important for speech production.
In addition to aiding in speech production, using hand gestures can help us maintain an open posture. By keeping our hands visible during business meetings, we can convey confidence, engagement, and trustworthiness.
Your posture can have a significant impact on your effectiveness in business. As most of the information we convey comes from our body language, it’s essential to pay attention to the messages your body is sending to your brain and other people around you. To avoid undermining your effectiveness in business, try using the tips above to improve your posture.
About the Author
Leveraging almost a decade of experience in the exercise industry Aesha, facilitates fun and engaging workplace wellness solutions. In addition to her corporate workshops, wellness coaching, and professional speaking engagements, Aesha is an accomplished author and columnist. Learn more about her at www.toneandstrengthen.com