…“Every time I see you I feel the urge to stand a little taller with better posture.”
This is the second time in the past 2 weeks that someone at work said this to me. Not only did it make me feel great but it reinforced for me that how I’m presenting myself to the world is working.
I call this the tall posture effect.
I see this “effect” in action quite often, most notably when I’m walking down the street (with good posture) and I pass a person shorter than me. In most cases the person walking towards me “straightens up” when they see me coming. This happens very subtlley but if you pay attention you’ll notice it.
Perhaps this is an automatic (hard wired) response towards a “perceived threat”? In nature animals make themselves appear larger when they feel threatened. In this case the “threat” is walking towards a tall person standing tall with good posture, looking confident.
Another possible explanation for this is mirroring – unconsciously mimicking the actions of people we feel a connection with as a form of binding and acceptance. In the case of my coworkers they mirror my posture and body language as a way to build rapport. Again, normally this is done subconsciously. I’ve been lucky to have been told about this explicitly.
One thing to keep in mind:
Do you think if I walked around hunched, looking down at the ground that I would get the same reaction from people?
I would (subconsioculy) be known as ‘that awkward tall guy’.
No one wants to mirror that nor will they see you as confident and in control.
Far too often I see tall people standing around slouched (with rounded shoulders) and looking down. It looks really, really bad! I’ve been guilty of this in the past and I know that it might not seem like much but trust me, it really does matter.
I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it until I go red: your body language and posture is critical in how the world perceives you.
Whenever I walk I maintain a straight posture, I keep my shoulders back – chest forward and my head straight, looking directly ahead (in front of me). Not down, not looking around like I’m lost but straight ahead. What does this signal?
Be the example you want people to become. Don’t blend in to try and be like everyone else, you are better than that.
Stand tall and be proud!
- Image credit for tall posture giraffe’s (cover image): here