Etiquette Boss: Walking tall

At this time of year, thousands of college graduates are looking for jobs. They know that they ought to write a perfect resume, dress professionally and offer a smile and firm handshake.

What can be wrong when months go by without a job offer? The reasons vary, but an underrated area that says a lot about how we are perceived is the way we walk.

A good observation exercise would be to spend half an hour looking at people as they go by on a busy avenue. It will soon be seen that a person’s age can be guessed from the back just by the way they walk.

Many of the elderly walk with short steps; they shuffle instead of stride. Others walk with a side-to-side gait instead of putting one leg in front of the other. Some might have hip pain, but many others have just relaxed their stride.

To appear young and vibrant, our walk has to be the opposite of the shuffle. Stretch those legs as far as they will go. Confident people stride into a room. Young people who are nervous or lack confidence at interviews enter a room with shorter steps than those who are confident. The shorter their steps, the less energetic they appear.

In this competitive job market, no advantage should be overlooked. I encourage my female students to practice by walking for a few blocks along the lines on the sidewalk. Try to walk on the concrete seam.

I encourage male students to walk as though they are striding into a board room as its CEO.  Men do not need to walk straight, but they do need to stretch those legs and walk with confidence. This is more a mental than a physical exercise. Adults who are age-conscious can benefit from these exercises as well.

Turning Back the Clock:

Can we turn back the clock? Yes and no. We cannot erase the date on our birth certificate, but we can definitely look better on the date of our next birthday than we did on our last.

It is my observation that we ‘show age’ in cycles. We can look the same for many years, and then one morning we look in the mirror and our look has changed. It is undeniable — that face is not the one we know.

What do we do? We can accept the “new” appearance, or decide to reclaim our old one. I am on a one-year experiment. I have bought a neckline trimmer on ebay to tighten my under neck area with less effort. It costs less than $5. Stay tuned. I will share my weekly regimen and progress with you.

Phillipa Morrish is the president of Etiquette Training International.

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