Head and Shoulders Above the Crowds
So posturing works during an argument, but you don’t really argue with other people, so what good is this information to you? In society, people are groomed to believe that men should be able to protect themselves and their loved ones. Women, meanwhile, are supposed to sit back and be protected.
Even in this day and age, where these old stereotypes don’t necessarily hold true, most couples are still composed of the larger man/smaller woman combination. And sure, this may well be because men are naturally larger than women, but still … you think you’d see at least a few of the reverse (smaller man/larger woman) combinations. How many of these types of couples do you know? (One? Maybe two?)
Is this getting way off the point? No. The point is to make yourself aware of the way you react to posture and size in your day-to-day life.
If you’re a smallish man, you can make yourself appear larger than life simply by standing tall and adopting an air of confidence. Remember Joe and Kevin from earlier in this chapter? Joe is smaller in stature, and yet Kevin is afraid of him!
Sure, it’s tough to be a small man in a world where most of your friends and colleagues seem to tower over you. Taller men sometimes love to lord their size over shorter guys, which forces the shorter guys to either laugh along with their pals or become defensive. Either way, the smaller men are left feeling as though their lack of height is a definite deficiency and that their taller peers have all the luck.
Not true. There are as many tall insecure men as there are short insecure men. Confidence is what makes you attractive to other people; confidence is what wins the boss over at promotion time; confidence is what prevents fistfights; confidence is what wins verbal arguments. Good posture screams, “I am confident!” so your mouth doesn’t have to.
Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Lee, Jon Stewart, Joaquin Phoenix … what do these men have in common? They are (or were, in Lee’s case) five-foot-eight or shorter. Never noticed their size? Maybe it’s because they also know how to project confidence.
Now, this isn’t to say that you should stand up tall and act belligerent and argumentative just because you realize the power of good posture. (After all, jerks come in all sizes.) But just as poor posture can make people have their doubts about you, good posture might chase those doubts away.
Back Off, Buddy!
While you don’t frequently hear women complaining about being too small, sometimes size comes down to an issue of safety: A small woman doesn’t want to appear vulnerable when she’s walking through the park or down a city street, for example. What’s a woman to do if and when she finds herself alone in a questionable area? Stand tall; thrust those shoulders back; hold your head level or slightly angled upward; and put your hands on your hips and use a wide stance if you’re confronted.
Above all, a woman should exude confidence, but keep safety as the highest priority. While confident gestures may not be a complete deterrent to a mugger or other unsavory figure, it shows that you are not an easy target.