A couple of years ago, I was travelling in Goa on business. I was staying in a good hotel that seemed to be a hit with families. Lots of kids running around. I got into the elevator and there was another person standing there. As I entered, he looked at me. As the lift doors closed, I thought he would eventually look away but he didn’t. He was staring at me incessantly. That was when I turned around to give him a cold, piercing stare with a scorn on my face. He probably did not expect it and he looked away. No words spoken, but mission accomplished.
Body language is a powerful yet often underrated tool. What cannot be achieved by the spoken word can sometimes be achieved with subtle use of body language. It is particularly true when a woman decides to travel by herself. Women from conservative backgrounds have an upbringing that requires them to use body language that indicates subservience. Hence, for a lot of us, unlearning old ways of carrying ourselves becomes an important prerequisite to exude confidence as a solo woman traveller. Here are some ways how it can be achieved:
A lot of women have been taught to shrink themselves and occupy lesser space, right from childhood. However, while travel, behaviour, just the opposite, is essential. It is important to claim one’s space and presence, be it a bus stand, a crowded train or bus, a queue etc. An easy way to do this is to consciously practise power posing. Power posing involves taking space and striking confident poses, such as arms on the hips, feet placed wide, standing tall without a bent back etc. Such poses have been proven to subconsciously boost one’s confidence.
Research indicates that sustained warm eye contact can even help falling in love! However, a sustained eye contact accompanied by a rigid, cold demeanour can intimidate the onlooker, even if the other person is taller, heavier and stronger. The example above is a case in point. Next time, when you find yourself caught in a difficult situation, try using eye contact as the first step to rescue yourself from the situation.
Non-display of panic symptoms
When we are put in a situation, the non verbal cues we exude reach the onlooker much before we actually react. It is important to not give out these symptoms as they clearly indicate lack of confidence and fear. When the heart races, our palms sweat, our temperature rises, we tend to drop our gaze to the ground or look around randomly, develop a shiver in the voice etc. The first thing to do in such a scenario is to take a couple of deep breaths. You will be amazed at how quickly the body calms down. Once you calm down, you may respond to the situation rather than impulsively react.
Tone of voice
The tone of your voice plays a crucial role in communicating your confidence. Speak at your normal levels, especially during contingencies, it clearly communicates that you are in control of the situation. Be mindful of the fact that the voice is very quick to pick up panic and broadcast it to the world.
Fake it till you make it
Great body language skills are acquired with practice. Once you set your mind on practising this skill, you will amazed at how many sample scenarios spring up in your life. No worries if you haven’t mastered the art yet. You can always fake it till you make it. Yes, you read that right!
Go girl, travel and conquer the world with your abundant confidence and charisma! 🙂