Sometimes it’s the small thing you never think about that can make a big difference when you’re interviewing for a job, a promotion, or networking at an event.
And that thing is ….the way you walk.
Believe it or not, with every step we make, we’re making a powerful impression that can work for or against us, before we even say a word. That’s a fact that’s just been confirmed by a large study conducted by a team of researchers in Germany.
First impressions take place within six to 17 seconds of meeting someone for the first time.
And about 93% of our snap judgments come from non-verbal cues. In other words, we get a feel for someone not so much by what they say but from how they stand, the expression on their face, how they’re dressed and yes –how they walk.
The Germany study found that people who have a happy walking style make a much better first impression. They were rated as very likeable, from the get go.
Here’s the best news: The same study found that even if you are feeling down, if you put a spring in your step, as if you’re on top of the world, you will — without realizing it –find yourself feeling better.
Plus, you’ll get a better response from whomever you are meeting, which will reinforce that good feeling.
At the Bagg Group, we have five thriving divisions: Bagg Professional Service, Bagg Technology Resources, Bagg @ Your Service, Bagg Managed Resources and Turn Key Staffing Solutions.
Between all of us, we interview thousands of people every year to place happy people in jobs that are right for them –full-time, contract or temp.
And it’s true that all of us pick up on a person’s energy. When someone approaches us with a walk that says they feel good, our energy increases too. When they come at us with slumped, round-shouldered, we feel less upbeat.
So no matter how nervous you are when you interview, how worried you feel, walk tall, as if you can take on the world. Experts say to relax your shoulders, keep them back, swing your arms. Smile.
Again, it’s such a little thing. But since it’s just that easy to put your best food forward, why not try it?
Here’s a few more findings to help you take the room, according to Patti Wood, author of Snap: Making the Most of First Impressions and Eliot Hope, author of Body Language: Boardroom Basics.
Slower walkers give the impression of being less sure of themselves. That said, don’t run a mile ahead of someone you hope to impress. Match their pace.
Bigger strides suggest power: Women especially may want to take bigger steps rather than lots of little ones. Let’s just say you won’t see Hillary Clinton scurrying around, taking baby steps.
Focus on your upper body when you walk and you’ll walk taller: When you lift up, you increase your oxygen intake and you come off as more assured.
Finally – if you feel nervous, walk it out: The forward momentum of walking is shown to help decrease stress. Experts say a brisk 30-minute a walk releases endorphins to reduce anxiety.