The other day, I watched a CEO give a TV interview. He was at home, of course, but he looked too at home.
He leaned back in his chair the entire time, as if to say, “Forget about leaning in—it’s a pandemic—no one’s going anywhere, unless this chair tips over and sends me flying into the kitchen.
Leaning back is not a good look—too relaxed, too complacent. Remember geometry and those different angles? You want to sit like a sharp right angle, or an alert acute one.
Another option: stand up. When I lead webinars, I mostly stand. (Perch your laptop at shoulder height, then change the angle if you sit.)
And on the phone, I’m always standing. Try it. Your voice will project better and you’ll sound more lively. Plus you can pace, another energy boost.
Pacing back and forth, whether on or off the phone (but not on camera), is a good way to wrestle with whatever is bothering you—similar, I suppose, to saddling up a horse and galloping out of the office.
I often get ideas this way (pacing, not galloping; I don’t gallop, the whole idea of galloping makes me want to pace).
“Our brains evolved to help us find food and escape predators . . . (not to) sit in a chair,” says Angeline Lillard, a psychology professor at the University of Virginia (Boston Globe, 1/13/08).
I suggest you invest in a really bad chair. The worst one I ever had was a wooden, rickety affair, and it was painful. That’s the kind you want—one you can’t sit in.
And if you ever get on a plane again, stand up and move every hour or two—that’s standard medical advice. You may not get any new ideas, but you’ll prevent swelling.
Airline seats are uncomfortable anyway. In fact, the airlines should really start selling their uncomfortable chairs as office furniture. Possible slogan: “We can’t make money flying planes any more. Our future, obviously, is chairs.”
Tip: To sharpen how you look, sit up; how you sound, stand up; how you think—consider getting a horse.
P.S. Would any of these 10 webinars help your team? e.g. The Power of Presence . . . Your Point? . . . Bulletproof Feedback . . . Challenging Conversations . . . Resilience @ Work . . .
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P.P.S. Rather just read a book?
You’ve Got 8 Seconds: Communication Secrets for a Distracted World—named one of the best biz books of the year by an obscure, but obviously brilliant, Canadian newspaper.
“Both practical and funny, it’s a great read for anyone who wants to have more impact at work. Hellman has mastered the art of communication, and he lets you in on the secrets. Highly recommended.” —Tim Saeger, Senior Vice President, Engineering, iRobot
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PAUL HELLMAN consults & speaks internationally on how to make your point—fast, focused, powerful.
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