Thursday, February 26, 2009

Tips: Be Powerful with Body Language

(Editor's note: I had to miss this dynamic presentation about women speakers and body language, but colleague Debbie Friez -- an officer of Washington Women in Public Relations, the event convener, and vice president at BurrellesLuce -- sent in this guest post about the event, emphasizing tips Eloquent Woman readers can use.)


Body language expert, Janine Driver, aka “The Lyin’ Tamer”, is calling 2009 “The Year of the Woman”, and she has made it her goal to help women be aware of their body language. Speaking at the February 24 Washington Women in Public Relations (WWPR) professional development session, Janine made us all aware of our own body language and provided insights into projecting ourselves more positively. Here are some of the great tips you can use for your next presentation, media interview or just everyday life:

  1. Keep your hands at your side, not clasped, to show power.
  2. Never hold a large sheet of paper when presenting. You should always use small note cards (if you need them), and hold them at your side, if possible.
  3. Don’t create a wall with your feet or hands. You should “open-up” your body.
  4. “Steepling” (creating a steeple with your fingers in front of your stomach) is a great power gesture. President Obama uses an open steeple gesture. Hillary Clinton has also been seen using it.
  5. Women tend to have a small stance (six inches or closer). Having a wide stance shows power. Cindy Crawford is a great example of a woman with a wide stance.
  6. One hand on your hip conveys attitude, whereas two hands on your hips projects control.
  7. When you shake someone’s hand, the hands should meet side to side. If the other person gives you the palm-down shake, you should bring your other hand over and lay it over theirs.
  8. Point your belly button at a person when you shake their hand to show openness.
  9. The more times you change locations or do different things during a meeting, the more the other person will feel like they know you.
  10. Never hide your thumbs in your pockets, it is not powerful.
  11. The last person through a door is usually the most powerful.
Driver noted that, as women, we need to work extra hard on projecting power, because these gestures are usually thought of as being manly.

A new blog on CEOs & speakers

Washington-based speechwriter Jeff Porro has launched a new blog on speeches for CEOs, called Tough Talk for Hard Times. Porro, who writes for Fortune 250 CEOs, leaders of professional and trade associations, diplomats and more. Here's what he says about the blog's focus:
With the economy stuck in meltdown, dragging down earnings and stock prices, a CEO’s ability to perform well behind a lectern, in front of cameras and microphones, or at a hearing table is more important than ever. In fact, I’d argue companies must have CEOs who can inspire confidence through speeches and presentations or they simply won’t survive.
Porro's offering tips, analyses of famous speeches, and inspiration. Check out this newcomer blog!