As a former dancer and triathlete, I know the importance of the three P’s: Poise Posture and Performance. It really doesn’t matter which word comes first - they form a magic circle and are interconnected. Poise is incredibly important right out of the starting blocks. Simply put: the body’s balance sends a message via neurons to the brain that it’s getting ready for action, and it’s time to focus and fine-tune your Posture - also known as “mind-body alignment”. The brain responds by sending signals through the nerves, forcing the muscles to jump into action. Like on the starting blocks, so in the office. Your personal style and work style are interconnected. Poise and posture reflect in the way you communicate, how you move and exude energy, as well as in the way you respond to emails and Perform in meetings.
People-watching is my all-time favorite activity, whether working in the office or enjoying a coffee in a street café in Paris. I don’t just observe looks, but also how people move, their posture and how they carry their energy. We all know that within seconds we’ve judged a person by appearance. The brain processes visual clues extremely fast. The unconscious mind supersedes the conscious mind by 7seconds and thus reflects the legendary first impression of a person.
Many books have been written about the importance of non-verbal communications that describe in detail the level of confidence, competence and credibility they portray. My focus here is on improving Posture because of its direct effect on better health (including brain health), resilience to stress and subsequent benefit to Performance. I liken it to watching trees in the wind: how resilient they are because of their flexible branches and strong root system.
There are several Posture alignment points in the body to prime for optimum performance. I focus on feet and invite you to play the “5 Second Poise” exercise.
When people stand, most tend to roll their weight to the outside of the feet, while some collapse to the inside. Do the test and stand up for a minute, plant your feet firmly on the ground and check what your natural stance is on both feet. Are you putting more weight on your front or on your heel; do you roll to the outside or inside? Notice which is yours?
Now, I’d like you to put your mind on the red dots, right between the big and second toe and move your balance accordingly, so that your weight is equal on front foot and heel. What do you notice? A slight tuck of your “tail” and pelvis maybe? Your belly flattening inwards? Gently growing taller perhaps? Once you have balanced your Posture, it is an opportune time to take a deep slow breath in, imprint this as your new body visual on your brain and slowly breath out. Repeat once or twice if you like.
In conjunction with this slight posture and movement adjustment with the breath, notice how it creates space in your body. Where there is space, energy can flow, giving an instantly improved feeling of relaxation and wellbeing. This simple Posture alignment exercise forms the essence of cultivating your mind and body awareness. All it takes is to use the “5 Second Poise” frequently for the next month, to make it a cognitive trigger for the brain to create correct mind-body alignment.
Next time when you walk into a meeting, do the “5 second Poise exercise”, check the red dot, allow your Posture and breath to re-align, and your presence will carry you through the room and ….. remember to SMILE.