Are you ever the smallest person in the room? Even average- or large-sized women can find ourselves physically dwarfed by our male colleagues.
Male strategies for looking “large and in charge”—sprawling, splaying their legs far apart, or using a voice that booms—don’t work for women. But these 3 tips will help you bulk up your impact, even when your physical “footprint” is small:
1. Wear “power” colors. There’s a reason why female leaders often wear bright, saturated colors. Strong, solid colors catch the eye and proclaim your confidence and importance.
2. Put your hands on the table. If you’re sitting at a conference table, forget your mother’s etiquette advice! Putting your hands in your lap makes your shoulders slump. Resting them on the table squares your upper body and helps you look (and feel) alert and ready to respond.
3. Think big. “Presence” begins in your own mind. If you think or feel that you’re taking up space, you’re more likely to project a substantial presence, even when you’re not speaking. (The same is true in reverse for large people who project a sense of lightness and agility.)
You can practice these tips anywhere, and have fun feeling like Mia Hamm, Xena Warrior Princess, or (in the words of Dr. Phyllis Mindell, author of A Woman’s Guide to the Language of Success) She Who Must Be Obeyed. They’ll quickly become second nature, and serve you well in situations where others are tempted to overlook you or your contributions.