Do you realise how much you communicate through your posture? Posture is the way we stand, walk and sit, the way we carry ourselves on a moment to moment basis.
Have you ever had the experience of sitting in a meeting when someone walks in very sloppily and collapses into the seat? Their head slowly comes up and they have got that far away look in their eyes and an expression of ‘amuse me now’ written all over their face. This is not what you call a professional demeanor.
Presenting in your seat
If you are going to be facilitating, managing a meeting, or conducting a conversation – let’s pause to consider what your posture should be like. There is something called the physiology of excellence and it applies to all communication contexts. So what does it look like when you are communicating from your seat?
Here is an example: I was working with a client of mine a few years ago in one of the software companies and I was running a program when this guy walked into the meeting…the way he walked in, the way that he sat down…everything about him said ‘authority’, like he was the ‘go-to-guy’. My immediate assumption was that he was the senior person in the group. As the meeting continued it emerged that he had only been an employee for about three weeks at that stage.
I was impressed by the excellent way he carried himself. Everything about him had the quality of confidence, assertiveness, authority and presence and that was just in the way that he was seated.
So here are some steps you can use yourself to acquire the posture that best supports your message when you’re communicating from your seat.
The rule of three
1. Walk in with an upright posture, as if there is a thread running from the crown of your head to the ceiling, squared shoulders, relaxed jaw, steady breath and a relaxed but firm pace. Seat yourself, be aware of your surroundings and make eye contact with everyone already in the room.
2. Your back should rarely touch the back of the seat. This eliminates the risk of collapsing, and slouching.
3. Keep your hands visible, either on the table or chair-arms, as this conveys trustworthiness to everyone in the room.
Try this at your next meeting and notice the difference in attention and engagement that the physiology of excellence generates.
The Colin James Method® Facilitators train corporate executives to improve their professional communication skills with a proven methodology. Our highly trained Facilitators and Coaches are recognised for their experience in their fields and have worked with many individuals and organisations around the world to master the art of communication.