How to Get What You Want Without Saying a Word
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The Goal: To Project Authority as the New Head of Your PTA, Condo Committee or Neighborhood Association
You have just been elected to a position that requires you to lead a group of opinionated people and to facilitate collaboration while keeping everyone focused.
1. Assume the Wonder Woman position. When speaking to a group of people, it's even more important to look like you mean business. Try not to fold your arms across your body or in front of your pelvis (the popular "fig leaf" pose), which, Goman says, makes people look like they need protection (or a bathroom).
2. Watch your hands. Hand gestures come naturally to most of us, and they help us emphasize important points. To avoid flailing like a panicked Pee-wee Herman when the discussion heats up, keep your hands between your shoulders and your waist. Touching your face, neck or hair are also weak moves. "These kinds of self-pacifying gestures can be interpreted as a signal of insecurity or deception," says Goman.
3. Hold your head level. While a tilted head can express interest in a personal conversation (with a friend or romantic partner), Goman says that it can come off as a sign of acquiescence in a professional context. This brings new resonance to the old advice to get your head on straight.
4. Keep both eyes on your audience. Make eye contact with other people in the room, and read their signals. If you catch them updating their Facebook profiles on their phones, Goman suggests doing something slightly unexpected, like changing your voice level or tempo or asking a question. This should bring their attention back to you.