Are you a Sashayer, a Stomper or even a Swisher?!
Because, as a woman, whatever your natural walking style, it can affect how your male and female colleagues and potential and existing clients view you and feel about you – good or bad!
And, as a woman who sometimes has to compete in very male work environments – where not all men are as accepting of capable and career minded women as they should be! – it’s important that your gait is as naturally impactful as possible to complement the other intellectual and professional facets you have. And please forgive my straight-talking: especially as men are often so visual!
Yes. Some of how you’re perceived is affected by what you’re wearing and how you’re wearing it…while walking in it. And I’m not even going to attempt to address that one…as it’s a whole area in itself! But, as a woman, you know better than I what works and doesn’t work sartorially in business settings.
Above all, the way you walk is about carrying yourself with warm and elegant assertiveness rather than being apologetic or even, perhaps to overcompensate, especially in a competitively male environment, by striding about aggressively or arrogantly. And you see all these playing out in business environments every day.
Now, you and I know that there are many aspects to having the right impact at work…and as much as you no doubt have many other qualities, this post is focused on one aspect, namely your walking style and how to make the most of this – in the right way.
For instance, imagine this scenario…
You’ve got a job interview and perhaps it’s even an assessment panel with other men and women you’re competing against and being openly compared to.
Perhaps you’re more nervous than you’re trying to let on. But your body language is telling others LOTS about you!
And even though you haven’t yet said anything, the way you enter the room where you meet your assessors and, if applicable, the other candidates, will give off a memorable impression. Memorable because it may well be the first time these people have clapped eyes on you.
Does any nervousness leak out? Or do you convey a warm confidence?
If you could see a video of yourself, what would you REALLY think…about the way you walk?
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.
The way you move, stand, sit, walk, run, turn, bend and swivel paints a powerful picture in people’s minds.
What’s the best way for a woman to walk…that has the right impact.
Well, research was carried out at Queen's University in Canada where they had men rate different female gaits and discovered that there's one walk that captivates men.
It’s known as The Walk.
So, how do you do The Walk…
It's a tamer and less pronounced version of a supermodel strut on a catwalk – which obviously you tailor to whether you’re in a business or a social setting.
According to the research, this is the formula:
STEP 1: Keep your head up – but not too far up in case you come across as too aloof
STEP 2: Put your shoulders back
STEP 3: Lead with your chest
STEP 4: Let your arms swing loosely back and forth
STEP 5: And allow your hips to swivel from side-to-side
STEP 6: Make sure your weight is more on your heels
STEP 7: And, just importantly, walk more slowly and deliberately, as if you’re moving underwater
It may take practice to make it your go-to gait…and the combination of your symmetrical body alignment and rhythmic movements sends a subliminal message to onlookers that you're in touch with and in control of your body.
This shows confidence – the sort of unspoken confidence that complements and reinforces your knowledge and skills in a business environment.
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)…
Please comment and/or ask a question in the Disqus box below about this blog article. And I will always respond – helpfully, by the way! Thanks and take care.
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