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  • Amy Jones

Are You Guilty of These 5 PowerLESS Behaviors?

Wondering why you don’t have more influence, respect and credit that you deserve? You may be guilty of powerLESS behaviors.

Every day in business and in life, women do simple verbal and no-verbal behaviors that erode their personal power without realizing it.

Here are 5 big offenders:

You don’t look directly when speaking or listening.

You may have the tendency to glance at people’s eyes and quickly look away. But your eyes speak volumes.  

Instead, when talking look directly in people’s eyes and hold that pose.  When listening, do the same.  The person speaking will notice and be positively influenced by your interest.

You end sentences with a question mark?

Many women bring their voice up at the end of a sentence, making it feel like a question and that they are unsure of themselves.

Don’t make others wonder if you’re competent.  Focus on ending sentences with a drop in your voice. This communicates you’re making a statement with confidence. Don’t you think?

You play with your hair.

You may not even notice that you’re playing with your hair, but such gestures often signal that you’re uncertain, feeling intimidated or nervous. Playing with your hair also connotes being flirtatious and a sign of sexual attraction, which is a major distraction if you want to be taken seriously

You over-explain.

Follow Katharine Hepburn’s advice to gain respect in male-dominated Hollywood – “Don’t over-explain, don’t over-complain.”  Time and again a competent, intelligent woman explains to the nth degree about a situation including who said what, who did what, then what happened, and on and on.  As a result, her stature and power seep out of the room.  

It’s far more powerful to state the situation simply, focusing on key factors and results. Let others ask follow-up questions for any details they need

You believe appearance doesn’t matter.

Given today’s more casual workplace, it’s easy to think that your appearance doesn’t matter.  It does. Ill-fitting, outdated clothes can communicate you have less energy and are less effective. And be costing you more than you think.

In her book Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office: 101 Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers, author Lois P. Frankel, Ph.D., says that “about 55% of your credibility comes from how you look.”

Plus, according to a study in the American Economic Review, “Women who wear makeup earn up to 30 percent more than those who ‘can’t be bothered.” So, hiring an image consultant could easily pay for itself!

So, whether you choose a more casual or more formal appearance when working, start to be more deliberate about what truly makes you look your best. Just a few more minutes each day dedicated to your appearance sets you up for a better day – and an improved bank account!

Feeling Guilty, Busted or Surprised?

If so, you’re far from alone. Good news is that now you know and can behave a bit differently. Simply choose one powerless behavior that made you go “ouch” and replace it with a new, more powerful one.



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