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Most People Fail to Leave a Good Impression Because They Focus on the Wrong Things

Most People Fail to Leave a Good Impression Because They Focus on the Wrong Things

Are you interested in a powerful lifehack that will change how your life unfolds? What if all it required was to change your posture for two minutes? If we simply focus on tweaking our posture, we change who we are. [1]

Our body language communicates who we are. In fact, we make sweeping judgements from body language. For example, associate psychology professor Joseph Tecce found that something crazy like a lower blink rate predicted presidential winners. [2]

We immediately size someone up when we first meet them, but what are judging them on? Harvard social psychologist and best-selling author of the book Presence, Amy Cuddy says that people seek to answer two important questions when they first meet you.

  1. Can I trust you?
  2. Can I respect you?

Our non-verbal actions reveal who we are and shape how we are perceived. We make quite a bit of mistakes that hold us back and provide people a negative perception of us.

Are you making these common mistakes?

Cuddy points out that people typically believe that competence is the most important trait in making a good first impression. Yet, while this trait is highly valued, this tends to backfire on people if trust has not yet been established. Let’s take a look at five common mistakes we make that fail to leave a good first impression.

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    1. Smartest person in the room. Don’t try to be the smartest person in the room (remember, we are first judged on our trustworthiness).
    2. Frightened animal. Essentially, don’t collapse your body.
    3. Hiding in your shell. People tend to contract when they should expand their body.
    4. Fidgeting. Don’t play with your jewelry or pick at yourself.
    5. Subordination. Stop subordinating yourself to people. If you find yourself doing this, mirror the body language of the other person.

    So, how can we use our body to change our mind?

    Power poses to boost power and confidence

    Cuddy points out in her famous Ted Talk that there are specific things we can do (and practice) to feel more powerful and confident. The first thing we should do when seeking to make a good first impression is to stop talking so much. It’s ironic that we try so hard to leave a good impression that we actually end up leaving a bad impression. [3]

    Additionally, there are specific things we can do through our body language to project power and confidence. Cuddy calls them power poses. Let’s take a look at them and see if they can help you in your quest to project a person who is respected and trustworthy.

    How to leave an impression of trustworthiness

    The best way to lose trust is for someone to catch your body doing something different than what you are saying. This is where fidgeting can hurt you. Try this power pose when you feel subordinate to another or you find you regularly fidget while interacting with people.

      The Wonder Woman. Puff out your chest, plant your hands on your hips, and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Tilt your chin up for that extra sense of power.

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      How to show people they can respect you

      Use your posture to both intimidate and seduce! Practice the following two power poses.

        The Loomer. If you are looking to close a deal, plant your hands on the table and lean forward.

        The Performer. If you are looking to gain confidence before interacting with a person or group, plant your feet wide and stretch your arms overhead in a V shape. Be sure to do this before you interact and not during.

        How to become an active listener

        This is one of the most difficult skills to attain. We often fail to actively listen during a conversation. Instead, we find ourselves trying to formulate our response while the other person is speaking. Try the following power poses and become a better active listener.

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          The CEO. Lean in by leaning back during your next job interview. Rest your arm on the back of your chair, keep your knees apart, and recline.

            The Obama. Love him or hate him, President Obama has a cool aurora about him. Try this the next time you are pitching or receiving an idea. Rest your feet on the table, clasp your hands behind your head, and lean back. Just remember, you might not want to do this during a job interview!

            Let’s look at a few more tricks that will help you make a great first impression.

            Fake it ’till you make it!

            The following list provides tips and techniques from How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships by Leil Lowndes.

            1. Sticky eyes. Pretend your eyes are glued to your partners with sticky taffy. Essentially, don’t break eye contact.

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            2. Epoxy eyes. Watch your target person even when speaking with someone else. No matter who is speaking, keep looking at your target person.

            3. Hang by your teeth. Visualize a circus iron-jaw bit hanging from a door fame you are walking through. Bite down and let it hang you by your teeth, with every muscle stretched into the perfect posture.

            4. Mood match. Before speaking, take a “psychic photograph” of the person you are interacting with. Match their mood and tone of voice.

            5. Parroting. Here is a trick so that you will never be left speechless again. Similar to a parrot, repeat the last few words your conversation partner says. This will place the conversation back in their court, where all you need to do is listen – specifically to those last few words.

            6. Comm-YOU-nication. When you start every ‘appropriate’ conversation with “you” … you will grab the other persons attention. This will get a more positive response.

            Making a good first impression matters. First impressions are nearly impossible to undo, so make sure your first encounters are done right. Focus on eliminating the common mistakes and start practicing the power poses discussed earlier.

            And remember, trust takes years to build, but only seconds to break.

              Reference

              More by this author

              Dr. Jamie Schwandt

              Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt & Red Team Critical Thinker

              10 Hacks to Increase Your Brain IQ, Focus and Creativity 9 Game Changing Tips on How to Write Goals (and Reach Them!) Creative Brain Test: 10 Best Ways To Test Your Creative Intelligence How to Be a Maverick and Develop a Maverick Mindset Being Self Aware Is the Key to Success: How to Boost Self Awareness

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              Published on November 28, 2018

              How to Do Meditation at Home to Calm Your Anxious Mind

              How to Do Meditation at Home to Calm Your Anxious Mind

              The woman in yoga pants sitting in a lotus position atop a rocky cliff, overlooking a valley draped in fog — this is the glamorized version of meditation you’ll come across as you search. Yet if you’re seeking meditation to calm your mind, a fantastic setting with no distractions is rarely available.

              So how to do meditation?

              The truth about meditation is it’s an everyday practice for anybody. You could be a mountain climber or you could be an accountant — either way, your home is just as good a place for meditation as any.

              Are you seeking to corral your racing thoughts and relieve a sense of unease, awkwardness, or uncertainty? Look to home meditation to cultivate a laid-back, creative, confident, and organized frame of mind. According to extensive scientific research, meditation relieves stress and anxiety, decreases blood pressure, improves sleep, and improves your ability to pay attention. [1]

              From start to finish, this article will give you quick, easy steps to follow so that you can meditate at home regularly. You’ll begin by assessing, identifying and altering things that need to change in your home environment. You’ll end by understanding the basics of meditation so that you can let yourself do what you already know how to do deep down in the hidden reality of your mind.

              You’re ready to let your mind be, and just be, in your own home — let’s begin.

              1. Find the Right Space in Your Home

              Where is your right space for meditation at home? Is it in your basement, your bedroom, your living room, or your study?

              The right space will be one with the least distractions built in to its purpose. In that case, it may be your bedroom. If you’ve set up your bedroom to be a place for sleep and only sleep, it will lend itself well to meditation.

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              The right space will also be a reasonably spacious one. Although comfort is not your goal, you need room to sit. Choose a space that is private, spacious, and quiet. If you don’t have a space in your home like this, create one. Free it from clutter and get it ready for you to meditate there any time.

              Ultimately, your right space is one you feel comfortable meditating in, the space you can enter with no other expectations.

              2. Improve the Feng Shui in Your Home and Meditation Space

              Feng shui means “wind and water.” It’s the ancient Chinese art of placement.[2]

              Feng shui improves harmony with nature. Adherents to the principles of feng shui believe all things have energy (chi). The focus of feng shui is to send negative chi (sha) out of the space and attract positive chi (yun).

              Here’s the truth about feng shui: it’s not complicated or hard. The following will influence feng shui positively in your home and meditation space:

              • Living things, such as plants
              • Beautiful objects, such as sculptures or even a well-polished piece of driftwood
              • Mirrors in symmetrical placement with the lines in a room
              • Mellifluous sounds, such as trickling water or wind chimes
              • Furniture away from walls
              • A centerpiece, such as a small table with books or an ornate lamp on it
              • Incense or something else that smells good
              • A lack of clutter and an attention to organization that emphasizes the usefulness, purpose, and essential being of each item in your house

              Given that feng shui is connected to Taoism and Buddhism, it will complement the meditative atmosphere you want to cultivate in your home.

              3. Eliminate Pervasive Distractions That Can Harm Your Wellbeing

              In part, meditation is about accepting the existence of distractions. When you meditate, you don’t judge and assign a positive or a negative value to distractions — the ticking of a clock, an itch, the barking of a dog — you let them occur and let them dissipate like waves.

              However, in the same way that feng shui removes objects that attract negative chi, there are certain types of distractions that don’t belong in your meditative space. You must remove them.

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              In a survey of 1,700 people who visited social media sites at least 30 times per week, 30 percent reported high levels of sleep disturbance and 25 percent presented symptoms of depression. [3]

              Those individuals who experience sleep disturbances or mental health issues due to social media are not setting boundaries between themselves and their connected devices.

              Part of learning how to meditate at home is learning how and when to set boundaries between yourself and your connected devices and social media accounts. If you need your phone for a timed meditation practice, but you normally receive social media notifications on your phone, set it on Do Not Disturb or Airplane mode during your meditation time.

              4. Flow into Meditation Through Time

              Next, set aside a time for meditation each day. It’s right to be structured and disciplined about your meditation time.

              Buddhist monks whose lives revolve around meditation are very structured and organized with their tasks each day. Structure provides the balance your being needs. Once you are meditating, your mind has no need for time. Outside of your given meditation time, you are completing tasks essential to the wellbeing of yourself and your home.

              Consider meditating as the sun rises. This is a quiet and contemplative time of the day when it is natural to set your day’s balance through meditation.

              5. Recognize the Rightness of Doing Nothing

              At home, you’re probably used to always doing something. When you do meditation at home, you are being, which is doing something and nothing simultaneously.

              Maryville University points out that successful people unplug by doing nothing. [4] Not only this, but they set the right expectations for the time during which they will do nothing.

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              We oftentimes look forward to the future by expecting something to happen and by expecting something of ourselves. To meditate from home, look to that time and that space by expecting nothing. You will not do any chores. You will not catch up on work. You will do nothing but meditate for a certain amount of time each day.

              This might sound crazy, but in taking on meditation from home, you’re not expecting yourself to improve and become a better person. As Ram Dass put it, you are expecting yourself to be here now.

              6. Choose from the Incredible Variety of Meditative Practices

              As I outlined in my post on types of meditation, there are many different and not-so-different types of meditation from which to choose.

              Many beginners find it right to choose guided meditation, for which there are apps, videos, and audio tapes available.

              If you are not necessarily a beginner but are merely moving your meditative practice into the home, you can facilitate a practice such as Nada Yoga — sound meditation — by placing a fountain in your space or listening to ambient alpha wave music.

              If you’re used to meditating outside of your home — perhaps you are drawn to the outdoors because of the sounds of nature — a practice like Nada Yoga can help you transition into your home space.

              7. Understand You Can Meditate Any Time at Home

              What if I told you to throw out all of the tips that came before this? Sounds crazy but that is how radical mindfulness meditation really is. We don’t think of it as radical because it is now ingrained in our popular discourse.

              Mindfulness meditation does start as a sitting meditation practice. It goes like this:

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              1. Sit comfortably and close your eyes.
              2. Focus on breathing. Inhale through your nose slowly and exhale slowly.
              3. As distracting thoughts arise, don’t judge them and don’t hang onto them. Let each thought go as you focus on breathing.
              4. Treat all physical sensations and feelings in the same way you do thoughts: register them, then let them go, returning to breathing.
              5. Extend this practice to everyday activity, remaining “in the moment” of the body’s activity with each new breath.

              As you practice mindfulness around your home, note the physical characteristics of the things in themselves. Note physical sensations: sounds, smells, textures, appearances, tastes. Stop now and then and do a body scan from head to toe, noting what each section is doing and how it’s feeling.

              Note thoughts that come and the emotions attached to them: let them go. Concentrate on the breath and the physical activities — including the details of the objects with which you’re interacting.

              You’ll notice that your home will lend itself to a meditative state when things are in order. This is where true feng shui originates. You will naturally sense how the arrangement of things affects the energy in a room.

              Clutter will disappear because mindfulness tells you to dispose of unnecessary things. Plants will bloom. Birds will make their nests in your backyard. Your home will smell pleasing and people will naturally be attracted to it and your presence.

              You’ve Reached the Beginning and the End

              Once you are able to do mindfulness meditation even as you are attending to the normal and abnormal requirements of your home, the mundane and the unusual, you are at both the beginning and the end.

              You are at the beginning because meditation never ends. Continue setting aside time each day to do sitting meditation in the space you’ve set aside. Continue practicing mindfulness as you attend to the energy of your house, your own energy, and the energy of those around you.

              You are at the end because you grasped what it means to do meditation at home: it means letting go of cares and concerns and being in your home as you attend to the right tasks. The right tasks are those necessary for being in your home.

              As you sit in your home, rise, open the door and you leave, you are calm in your mind because you are home.

              Featured photo credit: Simon Rae via unsplash.com

              Reference

              [1]Healthline: 12 Science-Based Benefits of Meditation
              [2]Marquette University: Feng Shui: The Wind and Water
              [3]Rutgers University: Social Media and Well-Being
              [4]Maryville University: How Successful People Unplug

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