Amid the mass of North Face jackets and Sperry shoes on campus, variety can be an anomaly. Ann Bastianelli, senior lecturer of marketing, gives advice on how to dress and carry ourselves in a powerful and defining way.
One of her professional interests lies in maximizing personal performance, a skill she says relies on your physical awareness. Even the way we stand can exude a certain attitude.
“A key piece to all this is posture,” Ann says. “Physically, there’s something to looking as if you are intense. That is about a straight kind of posture, but relaxed.”
She explains that when we literally lean into a conversation, it cues the other person into how strongly we engage with a particular point. Body language is intuitive.
The way we dress to exude power is also an important element. She says the ways in which we dress professionally can set us apart if we’re willing to take the risk.
“Often, I think you see people try to dress like somebody else,” she says. “Because you look different than other people, you draw attention to yourself. If what you’re wearing is fitted to you and is flattering, you’re off to the races.”
Buying a well-tailored suit, for example, sets a man apart from others who simply buy it off the rack.
“That makes a big difference because it demonstrates that you care how you look,” she says.
Before appearance of power can be solidified, Ann says knowing yourself is important in gaining the total package of power.
“I have all my students and some of the executives I coach take a personality test,” she says. “Having your strengths confirmed can give you a little bit more confidence to go into meetings, to go out into the world, and know what it is you’re good at.”
Once the ingredients of dress, body language, and self-confidence are mixed, the way we then conduct ourselves comes together in a powerful and convincing way.
Follow these tips and tricks to both feel and look more confident.
Do stand with conviction. Lean into people when you’re talking to drive your points home. Keep your shoulders broad and strong. Avoid being too intimidating, but make direct eye contact.
Do take up as much room as possible. When sitting, avoid slouching, and lean back to appear in control and calm. When standing, keep your back straight and your hands on your hips or at your side.
Don’t slouch or slump. Keeping your hands near your body gives the impression you’re nervous or uncomfortable. Avoid playing with your hair or fidgeting with your hands.