The keys to projecting an assertive and in control persona to the world…
Listen to your mother and stand up straight — it automatically adds a couple of centimetres — but dominant posture doesn’t end with a straight back. Broaden your upper body by puffing your chest out and pinning your shoulders back, which not only makes you look stronger but also more open to your surroundings, and stand shoulder width apart rather than lazily propped on one foot.
Delivering a firm handshake on top of the grip goes without saying — but don’t forget what to do with your hands when you’re finished using them. Keeping them behind your back is a powerful stance, by the sides is fine, and even in your pockets so long as your shoulders aren’t slumped. Crossed arms warp your posture and communicate defensive negativity, though.
Smile . . . in moderation. Flashing the pearly whites — especially when you first meet someone — encourages people to gravitate towards you, but don’t start grinning like a clown if you want to appear serious and dominant (how many do you see Clint Eastwood and Daniel Craig chuckling away?). And keep your eyebrows level — a furrowed brow is the calling card of a frustrated beta, while high eyebrows convey confusion, surprise, or guilt.
Picture Barack Obama walking into a meeting. Is he scurrying there, eyes locked on his shoes, desperately trying to make sure no one has to wait on him? Or is he taking long, balanced strides, deliberately marching to his destination in his own time, confident the room will wait for him? Long, balanced steps also make you look taller, rather than hunched over like Quasimodo, adding even more presence.
This doesn’t mean treating the world like a giant stare-off competition, it means being confident enough to hold your gaze when you’re interested in someone or something — not darting away when someone catches your eye. It’s the confidence to keep looking because the person who breaks eye contact first automatically assumes the submissive position.
Not slumped back like a human pavlova plonked on a chair, not perched forward like a computer nerd over a keyboard, but leaning back just enough to show how confident you are in your surroundings. Keep your feet shoulder length apart, but if you choose to cross them, stick to ankle on knee rather than the feminine knee on knee position.