In October, we discussed head posture, which is one of the three main postures people adopt that trigger snap judgments about you. People make judgments about you in less than a second. Your initial appearance is important. The unconscious mind processes about 11 million bits of information in a second, whereas our conscious brain only processes 40 bits per second. This means that people are making judgments about you without even thinking about it.
Let’s look at the pelvis forward stance.
Think about this as how a model stands when posing for a picture, hips out in front of your feet, larger arch in your back. (It’s important for women to know that high heels will force your body into this position, but its also common for men to adopt this stance.) It may be obvious that this stance conveys a sense of flirtatiousness.
A study by the Haas School of Business several years ago showed that women who flirt at work
are perceived to be more effective and close better deals. Madeline Albright has admitted to flirting with world leaders on the job, but being perceived as flirtatious is not be a path to long-term success. A more recent study showed that workplaces with competitive cultures tend to judge flirtatious women harshly
. For men, there appears to be no benefit at all to appearing flirtatious and may prove detrimental to your success at work.
A perception of flirtatiousness can create an uncomfortable situation in a business environment. A pelvis forward posture undermines the message of competence and professionalism one needs to embody at work. A neutral pelvic stance creates a safe environment to have a professional conversation.
Be conscious about how you carry yourself. Be sure that you are not inadvertently sending out a flirtatious signal when in fact you intend to be evoking a sense of competency. Stand with your hips over your feet and a small natural curve to your spine, not overly swayback. Stand like your mother always told you. Take control of the small, unconscious signals you are sending to others.
Look for Part 3 in our series on posture where we will talk more about how to stand and create a sense of trust so posture does not interfere with your message.