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Text comes from the book: “Body language for women: appear confident and self-confident” (2012) Münchener Verlagsgruppe (MVG), published by, reprinted with the kind permission of the publisher.

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Best of HR – Berufebilder.de®Dr. Cornelia Topf is a certified business coach and international management trainer with support for over twenty years Cornelia Topf As an international management trainer and certified business coach, well-known companies of all sizes and industries. Her focus is on target-oriented communication and success-oriented body language. The promotion of women is particularly important to the doctor of economics. The managing director of “metatalk Kommunikation und Training” in Augsburg is the author of many specialist books and guides that have been translated into numerous languages. These include titles such as “Self-coaching for women”, “Negotiating successfully for women”, “Assertiveness for women”, “The guide book for cheeky women” or “Defusing presentation torpedoes”. Cornelia Topf is also a sought-after expert in the media. More information at www.metatalk-training.de

Body language and competence: The power of effect

If you want to take it further in life, you should learn to understand what's going on in life. Competence is important. And that's often a matter of body language.

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Body signals as a career killer

Effect brings on. Incidentally, our great-grandparents already knew that: "Modesty is an ornament, but you can continue without it!" That the man in the picture looks better, more competent, superior, you see. But why is that?

Their effect depends on your body signals. Body language is a language like any other language too. It consists of vocabulary. The vocabulary of body language is the individual body signals. As soon as you can perceive and use body signals, you master the body language.

The vocabulary of body language

But in many situations it becomes clear that the man works better than the woman. But why is that? Take a look at your workplace. Which typical body signals distinguish men and women?

  1. Men sit, for example, legs apart, women beat or wrap their legs over each other. That looks attractive. But those who want to make a career should not be attractive in the first place, but competent.
  2. Most women do not get close to what they want to achieve. Why? Because the body language is wrong.
  3. Men pose elbows while sitting. Women keep them close to the body or even have their arms under the table.
  4. Men like to stand legs apart, hands in pants or even jacket pockets. Women stand in the posture position: legs tight, body weight on one leg; Hands visible.
  5. Women often sit with their knees closed and feet turned inwards.
  6. Men keep their knees open and their feet turned outwards.

The list could go on forever. If you open your eyes in everyday life, you will be flooded by a gender-typical signal flood. Unfortunately, all of these signals have one thing in common: "The postures of women," says behavioral scientist Marianne Wex, "are held close to the body with their arms and legs, narrowing, shrinking, trivializing, downplaying, humble, offering themselves withdrawn, hiding, mostly intimidated and anxious. "

Women - often like the good daughter?

Of course, this impression is completely unwanted and unconscious, but it is devastating. Just as devastating as we experience it daily: While men seem competent to arrogant, women are far too often like the brave daughter. She is nice, nice, nice - but you do not want to buy gas turbine from her! Because she just does not seem tough enough for business.

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Which is ridiculous, of course. Childbirth is ten times harder than anything the business has to offer. But women seem to be way too nice for business. Because they send the wrong body signals. Does that mean now that you are to stalk through the corridors with wide legs like John Wayne?

What does self-confident body language look like?

This is a popular spontaneous mistake. Let's clear it up right away: We are here to discover this. Women don't necessarily have to look like the good daughter. Successful business women who are not masculized show how:

They do not behave as arrogantly as men, but still seem very competent and confident. There are body signals for "good daughter", signals for "brutal guy" and signals for "self-confident business woman". We have to take a closer look at how the latter look. Because a woman is not a man. So she should not act like one. That looks ridiculous. Women have their own body language.

Macho or nice guy?

The body language of the typical man says: "There is room, now I come!" Of course, there are also atypical men who look nice and nice. In America, there is an expression for it: Mr. Nice Guy. This term has in a typical male society an unmistakable derogatory Beiklang: He is sweet and nice - so no real guy. Linguistic expression of a Chauvi society? Not at the moment:

The term is more often used by women than by men in the mouth. Many women are more likely to be real guys. While the typical man looks like a real guy, women look nice, inconspicuous, sympathetic - just "female". We all know and experience every day that men are typically boyish and somewhat arrogant and women are female.

Where we underestimate the effect of body language

But we regularly forget the effects that has! The effects of body language are constantly underestimated:

  1. Women are rather overlooked in meetings and meetings, not perceived because they seem so unremarkable. Typical reaction of the men: "Oh, the miller was there at the time? Right, now I remember. "That does not promote your own success.
  2. If you notice less, you will also be promoted less - because to whom a supervisor does not or only faintly remembers, he is not even in the short list for promotions.
  3. Those who are less noticeable are also often overlooked, underpowered, not taken seriously, less recognized.
  4. If you stand out less, you get less attractive projects, posts, tasks, customers, authorities ...
  5. If you get less attractive projects, customers ..., you are less noticeable as a result, which is why he / she does not get far as a result - a deadly downward spiral.
  6. If you do not notice, customers, colleagues, coworkers and bosses tend to stop you, because the external appearance suggests: You can do it with the / you!

Fatale body language: I can do it with me

This is exactly what many women tell me in women's seminars and coaching sessions: "Sometimes I get the impression that the guys in the office think: You can do it with one!" That's right! Men think that and also admit it to each other. And why? Because women often give this impression.

They do not make that impression consciously, but unconsciously - that's why he's so dangerous. Most women do not realize what fatal body signals they send! They think the bad men are to blame. But actually they invite the men with their unconscious signals to: "Come, pull me over the table. You can do it with me! "

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