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To Improve People’s First Impression of You, Work on Your Pose First

To Improve People’s First Impression of You, Work on Your Pose First

Whether we like it or not, first impressions matter. We all make quick assumptions about people from the first few seconds of an interaction –
sometimes without even realising what we’ve judged them on.

Our words are fairly easy to control so that we come across friendly, approachable and relatable. However, our body language can be something we’re very unaware of and often lets us down. It can be so subconscious that even though we feel we’re coming across authentically and enthusiastically, it doesn’t appear so to the person we’re conversing with.

What Do People Subconsciously Look For in an Initial Interaction?

It’s such a natural process that we don’t really think about what we’re looking for in a new acquaintance. But the two main questions that cross our minds are: is this person trustworthy? and can I respect you?

Whether the situation is meeting a new potential friend, getting up on stage and making a speech, or a job interview, as humans, we make an initial judgement of that person based on these two criteria and a lot of it is based on how our body language gives us away.

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How we feel on the inside is portrayed externally and often if we’re nervous, apprehensive or feeling insecure for any reason, we tend to contract or collapse our body. This is picked up on by others as us having a lack of confidence and being less trustworthy.

Power Posing: The Key to Portraying Confidence and Trustworthiness

When we feel powerful we naturally expand our bodies. Think of how your body language is when you win a race – you would most likely throw your hands in the air. Superheroes adopt a ‘power pose’ with hands on their hips and legs apart – the epitome of confidence and power.

Amy Cuddy has looked into a plethora of research [1] into how power posing can increase our confidence in nerve-wracking and stressful situations. She found that the way we use our bodies can have a huge psychological affect on our confidence. By knowing this, we can help train our bodies and minds to help us appear more confident.

Although expanded, open body language is recommended when making a good first impression, this doesn’t mean power posing during an interaction. Instead it’s about spending a few minutes in front of a mirror beforehand practicing your superhero stance and expanding your body. This has proven to increase testosterone and therefore increase the feelings of power and confidence.

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So it’s not about faking it until you make it. By practicing these poses you are psychologically changing your feelings and mindset in order to believe in yourself more.

The Best Power Poses to Embrace for Confidence

So you know you tend to feel nervous when talking to a particular person or you’re about to enter a job interview. What are the best poses to adopt before you enter into the interaction?

The Hands on Hips Pose

    This is one of the best poses you can do to make you feel powerful. Standing with your hands on your hips with your legs apart can instantly make you feel in control. Doing this for a couple of minutes either in front of the mirror or in the bathroom before an interview can help you get into the mindset of confidence and realising your capabilities.

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    The Strong Arms Pose

      This is a pose that psychologically invokes strength and power. If we enter into an interaction feeling strong we can get rid of any insecurities and feelings of powerlessness. It strengthens the belief in ourselves and this will come across to the other person as confidence.

      The Winner Pose

        Feeling like we’re winning is one of the best feelings we can have. Imagine a time when you’ve achieved something big. By adopting this pose, our minds can take us back to these positive emotions. If we feel like we’re winning before we even enter into a conversation with someone, you have already set the tone and often the positive outcome that comes with it.

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        The Legs Up, Arms Open Pose

          This pose may look laid-back and relaxed but don’t underestimate the power in this. It allows the mind to believe ‘you’ve got this’ which is a way of increasing the power and confidence within you. Opening your body language also trains and reminds the body to continue this throughout the interactions you have.

          Most of how we come across to others is down to our mindset and beliefs. The way we pose our bodies can go leaps and bounds towards changing negative beliefs and thoughts about ourselves and raise our confidence and optimism. In turn, the people we interact with will consciously or even subconsciously pick up on this. Give it a go and see for yourself!

          Reference

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          Jenny Marchal

          A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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          Last Updated on May 7, 2019

          How to Detect a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

          How to Detect a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

          Work in any competitive field long enough, and you’re bound to run into a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It’s a powerful image. A shepherd watches over his flock to protect them from harm. He’d chase away any predator that tried to make its way into the flock. A clever wolf wearing the skin of a sheep as a disguise can sneak by the vigilant shepherd and get into the herd undetected.

          The story isn’t just a colorful description–it’s a warning to all of us to beware the wolf in sheep’s clothing. They may seem innocent, but they have ulterior motives. They’ll use different tactics to camouflage their intentions.

          The person who is kind to you, but undercuts you when you aren’t around is a wolf in disguise. A wolf in sheep’s clothing might pick your brain for ideas and then pass them off as their own to get a promotion. They’re always looking out for themselves at the expense of everyone around them.

          Wearing a Disguise Has Its Advantages

          People don’t go out of their way to manipulate others unless they’re getting something out of it. Hiding their intentions gives wolves the chance to manipulate other people to advance their own agenda. They know that what they’re trying to do wouldn’t be popular, or it might cause struggle if they presented themselves honestly.

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            They’ll be able to do what they want with less interference if they put on an act. By the time people figure out their true motives, the wolf has what it wants.

            Signs That Someone Is a Wolf in Disguise

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                1. They live to take power instead of empowering others. A wolf uses people as stepping stones to get the things that they want. They don’t care what happens to anyone else.[1] A wolf at work might make you look bad during a presentation to make themselves look amazing in front of the boss.
                2. Wolves seem sweet on the outside, but they’ll show you their teeth. If wolves revealed their true identity, people wouldn’t associate with them. They develop a friendly or kind persona, but they can’t keep up the act 24/7. Eventually, they’ll reveal their aggressive tendencies. A wealthy person who likes to break the law may make sizable charitable donations to convince people that they are kind and thoughtful. These donations largely keep them out of trouble, but if someone calls them out, they destroy that person’s reputation to stifle the criticism.
                3. They manipulate through emotions to get what they want. Wolves know that they can get ahead by appealing to your emotions. They find out what you want and need, and they give you just enough to keep you quiet and compliant. Imagine that your boss is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and you want to ask for a vacation. She might try to play on your guilt and feelings of insecurity to get you to skip vacation or take fewer days off.
                4. A wolf will charm you first. Wolves are experts at manipulating the people around them. They appear interested in whatever you’re doing, and you’ll get the impression that they care. After they get you where they want you, they do just enough to keep you on the hook. This is the coworker who may start out being your friend, but they end up dumping responsibility onto you. When they see that you are growing frustrated, they’ll surprise you with something to charm you some more. Then, they’ll continue to do whatever they want.
                5. Their stories are full of holes.  Calling a wolf out is the surest way to make them squirm. When this person tries to come up with a story, it won’t make much sense because they are improvising.[2] The classic example of this is the significant other that you suspect has cheated on you. When you ask them why they came home so late, they’ll either become upset with you, or they’ll make up a weak explanation.

                How to Spot a Wolf

                  Know What’s Real So You Can Spot the Phony

                  Do some homework so that you have as much of the story as possible before you work with them. Research how they respond in certain situations, or give them hypothetical problems to see how they respond.

                  A job applicant might tell you that she’s always positive and thinks of herself as a team-player. That’s what every employer wants to hear. During the interview you ask applicants to work in groups to solve a problem to see how they handle the situation. The applicant “positive team-player” is bossy and negative. You’ve spotted the wolf.

                  A wolf will tell you something that ultimately benefits them. Gather evidence that proves or disproves their position, and see what happens. Chances are, when you choose the side that supports their agenda, they’ll act like your best friend. If you disagree, they’ll become aggressive.

                  Spotting a potential wolf–especially if you are one of the sheep–can present you with some challenges. If your gut tells you that a wolf is lurking among all the other sheep, pay attention, and make sure you take the next step.

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                  Ask Questions, the More the Better

                  There’s nothing wrong with asking questions to uncover the truth. The safety of everyone in your group is at risk. Since wolves often make up stories, you may be able to call them out when their tales lack details.

                  When they state an opinion, ask “Why do you think that?” or “How do you know it’s like that?” They’ll have trouble coming up with enough information to pull off the lie.

                  Since wolves are always pretending to be something they aren’t, they don’t usually have a clearly thought-out reason for what they say. In a debate, they won’t understand the root of an issue.

                  They may also tell you what they think you want to hear, but when pressed for more information, they won’t have anything to add. Their knowledge is superficial. No matter how much you try to encourage discussion, they will not be able to carry on a conversation about the subject.

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                  Wolves Are Everywhere

                  As much as we want to believe that everyone has the best intentions, it isn’t always the case. Some people only do things to benefit themselves, and they don’t care who they hurt in the process.

                  Wolves in sheep’s clothing can be found in almost every setting. You can’t get rid of them, but if you can spot them, you can avoid falling into their traps.

                  Reference

                  [1] Association of Biblical Counselors: Three Ways to Spot a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
                  [2] Power of Positivity: Beware of a wolf in sheep’s clothing

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