When it comes to getting ahead in our careers, we all know how important it is to work hard, respect our colleagues and stay focused. But did you know that there is another crucial aspect to consider when you’re looking to progress in your job? It’s all to do with power moves that project unshakable confidence and emotional stability in the face of upheavals.
German business school, GISMA, collaborated with communications expert at coaching consultancy, Zone2.co.uk, Robin Kermode, to reveal the top power poses you should be adopting to get ahead at work – including taking time to compose yourself, appearing in control, and maintaining eye contact.
Kermode believes that body language, and conveying the right signals, can have a big impact on your career. Here’s how you can use body language techniques to your advantage to get ahead in the workplace.
Lower your sense of gravity
“The lower a person’s center of gravity, the easier it is for them to balance and the more in control and grounded they appear. Our centre of gravity should be in the lower stomach, it is literally how we appear ‘centered’ and in control. When we are nervous we often let our back collapse. It’s usually better to have a strong lower back and stand tall to build leadership presence,” Kermode explains.
Dr Steve Priddy, Academic Dean at GISMA Business School, adds: “The next time you feel nervous or uncomfortable before a big meeting, push your shoulders back and concentrate on your posture. You’ll look and feel more confident and it will help you to focus on something other than your nerves.”
Learn to relax
Relaxing your stance will help you to appear more comfortable and on the same side as the person you’re meeting with. “I often look to see how relaxed a person’s shoulders are because that’s where all the arm and hand gestures emanate from. It is impossible to make a relaxed hand gesture unless the shoulders are down and relaxed,” according to Kermode.
For Dr Priddy, it’s as simple as taking a deep breath, rolling your shoulders back and composing yourself. “Be confident in your own abilities, you’ve got this!”
Acting casual can work in your favour
It’s all about knowing when to show a leader’s presence. If you’re with a group of colleagues that you have a good relationship with, being friendly and relaxed around them will help you to gain their respect.
“Being casual can sometimes work in your favour in the workplace. It isn’t always necessary to create a sense of authority if people are already on your side,” adds Kermode.
Don’t rush and maintain eye contact
Looking calm and present can really make a good impression when you meet someone. Don’t rush the moment and maintain gentle eye contact to build a more genuine connection – a great way to build relationships with clients and colleagues in the workplace, according to Kermode.
Take the time to ensure that you’re making others feel welcome and comfortable when you first meet them. Ask them about themselves and take a genuine interest in their response to help them feel at ease.
Take a moment for yourself
“Taking a moment to calm your mind and get your thoughts in a row makes sense,” says Kermode. “Going into your own world is a good way to focus. I also suggest distracting yourself before giving a big speech. Let your mind notice something odd, like a stain on the carpet or a bulb missing from a lamp. This helps you to focus on something other than your nerves.”
It’s a good idea to briefly take yourself out of the moment during stressful situations. If you’re feeling anxious about a situation, it can be easy to take things out of context and build things up to be more stressful. Take a minute to focus on something comforting and familiar and steady your breathing before you go back to the task at hand.
“Whether it’s subconscious or not, we all take note of other people’s body language, especially if we’re meeting them for the first time. It’s interesting to find out some of the body language traits we can develop to help us progress in our careers,” Dr Priddy adds.
“Appearing confident is especially important when getting ahead in the workplace but this is often quite difficult in high-stress situations. Taking the time to compose yourself before re-focusing on a task can really help you to appear more assured.”