The above picture is a classic illustration of postures of dominance and submission, as head of the IMF Christine Lagarde met then Greek prime minister Lucas Papademos.Of course one picture cannot tell the full story, but if ever a picture painted a thousand words this one did! Christine Lagarde’s posture exudes confidence, and confidence is a vital ingredient in both facing the challenges on the road to becoming successful, and maintaining that success when we achieve it. (For more on the topic of posture and confidence see Amy Cuddy’s excellent talk on TED.com)
In every meeting our bodies reveal a great deal about us, and we can choose to let that work for or against us. We can all cultivate confidence, no matter what our background and personal history may be. True confidence allows us to relax, to accept our imperfections, and present our strengths in a positive and grounded fashion. Despite any impression given by the above photo, it is about allowing us to connect, rather than dominate. In reality each meeting is a dynamic experience, where – even if seated – our bodily movements express many aspects of our story.
I’m reminded of my Aikido classes of many years ago. Aikido is described as ‘the Way of Harmony’. The objective of each encounter is to use the momentum of any aggressor to gently disarm him/her and restore a state of peace. One does this from a place of relaxed, alert confidence, focused on the most positive outcome. It is calm and respectful, but in no way weak!
No matter the personality type we are dealing with, presenting ourselves with true, relaxed and alert confidence allows us to adapt our posture and behaviour – without compromising our values – to the needs of the situation. Sometimes it will be clear that the best option is to simply walk away. More often than not, however, we find that the commitment we have made to ourselves draws others to us, creating opportunities to explore the mutual benefits of using our services. That alone is a powerful aid to success. Now let the dance of negotiations begin!
Joseph McGuire is the owner of Clearsight Communications who provide personal evaluation services and training in the areas of senior level recruitment/promotion, negotiations, sales and HR. Individual consultation sessions are available both in person and via Skype. He is also in demand for group presentations, private functions and conferences. For further information email: firstname.lastname@example.org