L
et’s imagine it’s 7am, and I’m at the Pilates studio teaching a new client, Susan. I do a thorough assessment; we talk about her workout and injury history. Then I explain to her how important it is to work on posture to maintain an injury-free body while I sit slouching on a chair with rounded shoulders, head falling forward, body bending to on one side.

Do you think she will believe what I’m preaching to her? 

Will she trust my words or my body better?

I’m saying something with my words, but if my body is telling the opposite truth, the message is lost. You can spin your words, but you can’t go too far lying with body language.

For most people, posture is an unconscious habit caused by a variety of factors including your physical condition, emotional state, stress level and presence of any medical conditions.  We should be concerned about our posture for our own health and well-being, but we should also be concerned about what our posture is communicating to others about us.

In my many years of teaching, I have realized that the way I stand and carry myself doesn’t only communicate trust and confidence to my students, but it also helps them understand proper execution of the exercises I’m teaching. With my posture, I signal to my clients the right energy, pace and intention of the exercise that they are executing so that they can gain a successful outcome.

An interesting study conducted at Ohio State University and published in 2009 determined that posture does indeed affect communication, not only to others but to ourselves as well. Richard Petty, coauthor of the study, says that “the results show how our body posture can affect not only what others think about us, but also how we think about ourselves.” Petty also notes that, “most of us were taught that sitting up straight gives a good impression to other people, but it turns out that our posture can also affect how we think about ourselves.  If you sit up straight, you end up convincing yourself by the posture you are in.”

Upright, but not stiff or rigid, posture says to others that you are confident and open to communicate. This openness makes it easier to establish a relationship.

How could I expect my client Susan to believe and trust me to improve her posture if I’m not able to show off a confident posture myself?

Amy Cuddy, Harvard psychologist and TED star tells us how to find confidence, influence others and perform at our peak. The secret is the “power pose.” Go back to the 70s and remember how Wonder Woman used to stand in the famous TV series: legs open in a wide stance and hands on the hips! A couple of minutes in that position and you’ll embody strength and instantly become more powerful

Amy-Cuddy-presence

We live in a time where what we see and what we perceive has major importance and greatly influences our actions and decisions. It may not be right, but the word judges people on images. And according to Malcolm Gladwell, author of Blink, we make those judgments in under two seconds.

blink

Pictures, websites and videos communicate for us before we ever even have our first meeting with someone, then in person it’s us, our facial expressions, posture, voice and body language that seal the deal of trust. Be aware of your body language and what it conveys to others, and make sure the message your body is giving off is the one your words are giving off as well. 

We are our very own living and moving business card!

We MUST be PRESENT!