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July 2013

Body Language more confidence, less swagger

Want to be more successful in your next business meeting? Try striking a "power pose," by standing tall and straight with an open posture. And whatever you do don't hunch over and make yourself "tiny," says Amy Cuddy, an associate professor at Harvard Business School. Body language is especially important for women, who can easily be overshadowed in meetings by men, who naturally take up more space. But Cuddy, who has done years of research on the topic, says both men and women can use body language to actually raise their testosterone levels and lower the levels of the anxiety-producing hormone cortisol.
Cuddy went through her own crisis of confidence in becoming an advocate of body language as a transformative process. A college adviser who saw her innate intelligence and wanted to help her back onto a successful academic track told her she needed to work on her confidence by speaking in front of people.“Just do it and do it and do it, even if you are terrified,” was the advice she took to heart as she rose through the ranks of teaching and became known for her research. Cuddy suggested business people should "should be walking around the hallway, putting your arms up.

The body never lies - Obama and Putin at a recent meeting

"Sit at your desk and put your feet up on it," she said, offering an example of the "power pose." "Stand on your tiptoes with your hands in the air. When you go into a sales meeting, you want to be as squared off and tall as you naturally can be. If you're sitting down, you might consider not crossing your legs."

Cuddy said the tendency to hunch over and make yourself small, protecting against outsiders, is an instinct that dates back to primates in the jungle and even a few rungs lower in the animal kingdom, Cuddy says.

By acting more powerful and pumping yourself up, people can learn to change she says.  She tells people to “audit your own body.” “It’s not being fake,” said Sims Wyeth, of Sims Wyeth & Co in Montclair, N.J., a speech coach who has worked on the front lines with executives.  “It’s really you, but it’s an unfamiliar you that you start to understand.” The process of “becoming assertive and confident” is a problem for both genders, especially in speaking in front of people, he said.“I see it in a lot of men and women,” said Wyeth. “It doesn’t what you are like physically. Tall men sometimes feel awkward because they stand out.”

The transformative process that Cuddy talks about has been valuable for many women, he said. But men have their own issues to overcome, even if they are different ones. “They are peacocks. It’s not about swagger. It’s about avoiding all affectation and showing calm, not anxiety. Your body posture is an important part of that.” Cuddy argued passionately that learning to be more confident can “significantly change the outcome of your life”
By Richard Satran, TODAY contributor
From LifeInc on Today

Influence through colour contrast

Colour is a key component in what we wear and contrast is the difference you see between any two colours next to each other. Mastering this relatively simple technique of the right contrast in the colours you wear could greatly influence your next presentation, meeting, interview, conference or sales pitch. Colour doesn’t only affect how others view us but the contrast in those colour combinations can also change impressions. Confused? Ok, here’s a quick and simple primer – there is high-contrast, medium-contrast and low-contrast combinations.

High contrast - between tie, shirt and suit (Power dressing)
High-contrast refers to the difference between the clothes where one article of clothing is much lighter or brighter and the other is much darker. High contrast dressing (also known as power dressing) is used to create the greatest influence and to come across as powerful and in-charge e.g. a red tie with a white shirt worn with a dark suit. High contrast is good for politicians, CEO’s, if you’re leading a meeting or if you want to come across to your audience as authoritative.

Low contrast - little difference between skirt, top and shoes
Low-contrast combinations on the other hand are where there is a minor or no color difference between clothes e.g. brown shirt and brown jacket. This type of monochromatic dressing is considered the least influential especially in business. In some instances it may be considered a more fashionable look but in the business world it reduces your influence and can actually make you less noticeable.

Medium contrast - grey suit, white shirt
A medium-contrast combination comes across as most friendly and approachable yet without completely diminishing authority. An example of this would be a light grey suit with a white or blue shirt.



Derek speaking to ladies at the recent Networking in Heels

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In this month's newsletter we focus on how body language can make you more assertive in your communication, we also look at how contrast in color can silently influence others. Finally, what every audience member must be guaranteed when listening to a speech or presentation. As always I hope you find these tips useful and continue to let us know your thoughts.

With best regards,
Derek Bbanga.
Managing Director, Public Image


Public Image has a unique approach to building individual and corporate achievement. Business etiquette, creating a positive image though posture and dress, soft skills, communication proficiency, personal branding and networking expertise are key elements in the Public Image approach to developing professional skills.

Projecting a positive image for business will give you an edge in today's competitive market




The Listeners Bill - Right of every listener

If you are presenting or giving a speech, your audience has certain rights and here they are:

  1. The right to a point of view. There are two sides to the issue.   Give both sides if you must.  But tell us what you think, we’ll decide if we agree.
  2. The right to brief. One study indicates that after 17 minutes, no one is paying attention.   Most business presentations can be delivered in 15 minutes.
  3. The right to a story.  Stories help you connect with an audience  - the more personal the better.
  4. The right to an answer.  Don’t just say the “Recent Developments in Your Industry.”  People don’t come to speeches for information they come for answers to life’s key challenges.
  5. The right to passion.  Speak with the same passion that you use when you’re talking about your favourite football team or new pair of shoes. And please SMILE!
  6. The right not to be read to. If you’re going to read your speech, just send it by email instead.
  7. The right to a simple message.  Here’s a recipe for a great presentation. Start by saying “There are three questions I’ll bet you want to know about this topic.”  Then list the three questions and answer them. Then take questions.
  8. The right to minimal slides.  “Power Corrupts. PowerPoint corrupts absolutely. Keep it simple.
  9. The right not to use lots of jargon and acronyms.   Don’t litter your presentation with overused clichés and industry jargon – speak clearly and simply.
  10. The right to be loved. Great speakers understand that the only reason they exist is to help their listeners. So they focus every bit of energy on helping their audience with key issues and delivering messages in a way that connects.

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CFC Stanbic
General Motors
Dolphin Consultants
Lukenya Getaway
Miss World Kenya
Spa Group of Colleges


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