Are you a Staggerer, a Swaggerer, a Strider, a Saunterer, a Slitherer or even a closet Skipper?!
Desmond Morris, the zoologist and writer of the seminal The Naked Ape, wrote in another book, Bodywatching – A Field Guide to the Human Species, that there are about 40 different human walking styles.
The way we walk says a lot about our attitude at that time – to ourselves and to other people. In the eyes of an observer, it can define you in so many ways, both flattering and unflattering.
Have you noticed that some people enter a room and have presence. You’re drawn to them because of their aura and their attitude. They exude a charisma because of the way they carry themselves.
For instance, the former US President George W. Bush famously employed his "power walk," where his backward-facing palms and swinging arms made him seem broader and perhaps - he hoped?! - more intimidating.
So the way you move, stand, sit, walk, run, turn, bend and swivel paints a powerful picture in people’s minds.
To walk with more power, presence and poise is something akin to a Panther Prowl – although on two legs and not on all fours. The latter’s just not as good a look as it is for a real life panther. Just saying. So, when you walk, make sure you:
STEP 1: Take well spaced, well paced and naturally controlled steps. Not too long, as this can make you look clumsy and ungainly and not too short as this can make you look tense and even slightly camp! A man who exudes presence goes at his own deliberate and slightly slowed pace. Cool, calm and collected men don’t rush or walk in a flustered way – unless you are of course being chased by a real life panther who hasn’t eaten since last week!
STEP 2: Hold you head high and keep your chin slightly up – but not too much – as, if you turn your chin up too high, you can look arrogant and unapproachable
STEP 3: Walk straight and strong and don’t sway or shuffle. Remember, you’re walking with purpose and presence.
STEP 4: Relax your shoulders, but don’t hunch them. The shoulder on the side of your body that's stepping forward should move down slightly, while the shoulder on the side of your body with the foot planted firmly on the ground should shift up slightly as your other foot moves forward. If you overdo the swagger, it can look unnatural and forced and even slightly farcical. Remember to keep it manly and measured.
STEP 5: Move your arms with a slight swing. In body language terms, this means you feel good about yourself, but not so much that your arms look like a pair of propellers readying for take-off!
STEP 6: Keep your thighs slightly apart with a pleasantly assertive gait as this suggests you have powerful and strong legs and taking that little bit of extra space exudes confidence. But not so far and unnaturally apart it looks like you’ve got a large cork wedged where you least need it!
STEP 7: Look people in the eye – not in an aggressive “I’m so going to have yer” type of way, but with a look of warm authority. This shows natural confidence.
So, try practicing standing, walking and moving in front of the mirror. Now, forget that this might feel a bit awkward and narcissistic. It isn’t. To have a great and persuasive personal impact, you have to be aware of your body and how it moves.
If you filmed yourself walking down a street, moving around your or a client’s office or going up to a person you liked at a party – and I haven’t even mentioned you dancing yet! – then you’d be surprised and even shocked at how you move.
So, firstly, find yourself a full-length mirror and/or get someone you know and trust, who won’t put you off by laughing uncontrollably while you adopt different movements, to film you.
You could even film yourself if you have the kit and the practical skills. If you feel really brave, then get a good friend to film you at a party, walking along the street, even at your office, to see how you move.
You’ll learn so much.
And it’s better to feel a bit awkward in private – certainly as you know you’re doing something so simple yet so important to help you have greater personal impact – where you can perfect how you come across and reinforce other’s positive perception of you.
Aside from the fact that you can now enjoy FREE access to a cunning coaching tool (simply click the red button you see next to this article)…
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