Three studies conducted by Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University found that posture matters more than hierarchical role and can make a person think and act in a more powerful way. They discovered that in an interview situation, an interviewee's posture not only conveys confidence and leadership but the person actually thinks and acts more powerfully.
‘It is believed that when a person carries themselves positively, opens up their body and takes up more space they feel more confident and powerful, regardless of their actual rank in an organisation,’ explains Dr. Hayden Thomas, chiropractor and spokesman for the New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association.
‘Unfortunately, many people get into the habit of not holding themselves correctly and they slouch or roll their shoulders forward. This is a ‘constrictive’ or ‘closed’ posture and makes individuals look more submissive, less confident and not as capable of leadership.’
Thankfully, there are a number of actions that can be taken to make sure a person’s posture gives the right impression on interview day.
‘Targeted exercises are one of the best ways to correct bad posture,’ says Dr. Thomas. ‘It only takes around three minutes a day to help improve spinal health and posture, which isn’t a huge time commitment. The Straighten Up New Zealand campaign is especially effective with each exercise designed to help the participant develop strong postural muscles. Other causes of bad posture include the wrong height chair and desk at work, obesity and, for women, spending too much time in high heels. Remedying each of these will lead to improved spinal health, which will make maintaining good posture easier and more comfortable.’
‘When you are heading into the interview remind yourself to walk tall with your head up, chest raised and shoulders back,’ adds Dr. Thomas. ‘Once seated, keep your legs and arms uncrossed and sit up straight, with your back relaxed against the back of the chair. Along with making you feel less tense, this positive posture will give the interviewee exactly the right first impression as well.’
For further information on the New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association and how to maintain a healthy posture, visit www.chiropractic.org.nz. More details on the Straighten Up New Zealand campaign can be found at www.straightenup.org.nz.