How To Own Your Space

Are you standing tall or slumped over your phone or laptop reading this? How is your body feeling right now?

Take a moment, think about your posture, and read on.

Our body language can reflect so much about us; what mood we are in, our energy and enthusiasm or lack of, as well as our level of confidence. The way we hold ourselves has a massive impact on the way the world sees us whether we like it or not.

In my experience, when people talk about something they lack confidence in, their body language gives them away, way before they say anything. This can also have an impact on tone of voice too. Imagine pitching for a sale in something you have absolutely no knowledge of and therefore no confidence in, would you perform at your best?

So how do we own our space and appear more confident, even if we might not know it all?

Use your body and be present! Whatever stance you take, fill the space surrounding you. Engage all your body, including your arms, legs, head and body. Use your hands if this is something natural to you, keep your head straight and lifted, maintain good eye contact if relating directly with others, and smile. Be present, listen and engage. Owning your space is just as much about presence as it is body language. I like to think we have two ears and one mouth and should use them in that ratio.

If we think of influential characters, think about their stance, their mannerisms and the body language they take on. Remember Wonder Woman’s Power Pose with her hands on her hips and her feet strong and wide? She is standing her ground and owning her space with her body. Think about batman, when he lands with solid feet on the ground and stands with his cape flaring and shoulders squared. Have you seen a strong character fiddle with their hair or nails their shoulders hunched? No, because body language is just as important as our words, actions and behaviour. It doesn’t always have to be strong and powerful characters we compare to, think about other role models, like Mother Teresa, and observe their body language, facial expressions and mannerisms. Are they empathetic, compassionate and engaging? Do they command space and respect with their words whilst listening to others? Presence is so powerful.

Imagine going into an interview or important meeting, which you feel nervous about. Think about how you would like to come across. You may look a little crazy taking off Wonder Woman in the meeting but grab 5 minutes beforehand and adopt a power pose that suits you to get you mentally prepared and calm your mind. You will feel stronger and more confident, and science tells us this works. I just love Amy Cuddy’s Ted X Talk on how your body language may shape who you are, where she talks about the science behind this thinking, and you can click here to watch the talk;

When meeting someone new, Introduce yourself and be the first to say hello or offer a handshake. Give compliments where they are due; who doesn’t love that? But don’t confuse this with blind flattery as you’ll get caught out. If you are nervous, say less than you would normally and give yourself time to think and breathe slowly. Confidence is difficult to fake but good posture, an honest smile and real presence can convince anyone you’ve got what it takes.