Yesterday morning, my dog and I went for a walk to try out a new route for the coaching whilst walking that I do. We went to Hylands Park near Chelmsford. We were enjoying the sunshine, Zeus was loving the new scents that were there for him to sniff when a lady came up to us to ask us the way back to the car park. At this point I was panicking slightly as I had no idea where I was in the park myself. It really made me think that despite feeling uncertain internally and wondering where the hell I was, this obviously had not come across as the lady said I looked like I was on a mission.
Apparently it takes just one tenth of a second for us to judge someone and come up with a first impression. First impressions are usually what people remember so it’s so important that you come across to others how you want to come across to others, especially in a work environment. But how do you give off the right first impression even if your internal emotions are telling you otherwise?
Body language is so important in this. If you act confidently, you will appear confident to others and therefore they will think you’re confident. It doesn’t matter that you feel a bit lost on the inside. They are only seeing your external persona, that ‘freeze frame’ of you at that point in time. We know that thoughts influence actions so remind yourself of a previous time that you’ve made a good first impression or been confident and the positive impact of this. If you don’t tell yourself this and believe in yourself, no one else will either. Perhaps channel the confidence of someone else you know who is naturally outgoing and think of how they would approach the situation in that room.
However, in order to act confidently you also need to be yourself. Definitely channel someone else’s confidence but avoid actually acting like someone else. You will soon come across as a bit of a fake if you forego your own personality and pretend to be someone else. Being yourself also means knowing how you react when you’re nervous. Do you bite your nails or have a nervous laugh? Maybe you can’t stand silences so you go into non-stop talk mode? Be conscious of what you do and remind yourself before that meeting or presentation to not do it. It’s hard but learn to accept that silence, for example, can be really powerful. Just try to listen instead.
Finally smile when you enter the room, straighten your back and make eye contact. These are really simple things but by smiling you instantly feel more approachable to others and create a more positive first impression.
If you want to find out more about coaching whilst walking, please get in touch.