Remember this? It’s one of Team HEUCY’s favorite movies of all time: Working Girl. Tess has bad hair and a pretty strong accent..but she’s a smart cookie, and after a getting a haircut, working on her “game” (no more fidgeting) and stealing some outfits from Sigourney Weaver’s closet, she gets the job and the guy. (A 1980s Harrison Ford…nuff said). The only thing missing from Tess’s makeover was a HEUCY wardrobe. Can’t you imagine her killing it in the board room in the Date Night, and then heading out for drinks with Mr. Ford? Zipper up!
This movie reminds me of entering the workforce after college, and thinking that many of my elders in the room (mostly men, I’m sad to say) were really smart and “on it”. As I sat in my poly-blend black skirt suit and square toed pumps from Loehmann’s, I would watch the “Directors” in the room talk and think to myself, these people must really know what they’re doing. When I grow up, I want to be just like them!
Now that I’m grown up, and a bit wiser, I realize that most of those people were actually winging it. They sounded “right” and people listened to them because they were poised and confident. If you want your point to be heard, and followed, then how you say something matters as much as what you say. An English accents helps too, but in lieu of that, you can really use your body language to show confidence. Whether you’re in a conference room, a coffee shop or a toddler’s bedroom explaining “why not”, these tips are great to keep in mind.
1. Put your hands out. If this makes you uncomfortable, put them on your hips. Never in your pockets! Having hands out in the open shows you have nothing to hide, which is very important when negotiating with old and young people.
2. Chin up, eyes forward.
3. Stand up straight! When you’re walking, try to remember to push your shoulders back slightly. Not too much. Holding in your stomach helps. (Yes, we know this is hard…especially if you’ve had kids and/or consumed too many bagels that day…we’ll follow up with some quick core strengthening and toning exercises 🙂
4. Smile. I have a friend who used to compensate for her size (she’s very petite) by never smiling in a meeting. She wanted to be revered, so she felt like she had to act tough. Now she acknowledges that a softer approach would have been more effective. You want people on your side. You can be nice and smart.
5. Make contact. Think of Bill Clinton’s double-handed hand shake and a pat on the back…people like this. Obviously, too much is too much sometimes in a professional setting, so gauge appropriately.
TGIF, people! Have a great weekend.
The HEUCY Team