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According to the dictionary, comportment is defined as one's demeanor or bearing; and in particular, a conduct or behavior that conforms to what is right, proper or expected. Behavior that is right could be reflected in an "upright" bearing, just as proper conduct could be seen through an honorable or proud demeanor. Good comportment often goes hand in hand with pride and confidence.  

Sometimes there is a fine line between arrogance and confidence. Take the stance of many dictators or heads of state with head held high, chest extended and hands clasped behind the body. Tilt the head a little too far back and it takes on an air of arrogance. Look straight ahead and the pose is one of confidence and determination. Droop the shoulders and an air of defeat or heavy burden is suggested.

Good Comportment:  More Powerful than a Power Suit

The most expensive power suit cannot undo the unspoken message of insecurity or weakness that is perceived with drooping shoulders and poor posture. Good posture doesn't cost a cent and is worth a million dollars. Here is how to achieve it:  Stand up straight with the arms alongside the body, take a deep breath, engage the abdominals and get a "proud chest." Maintain that posture, but let the shoulders relax a little when you exhale. You will look self assured and successful!  

Multiple studies have found that an extra inch of height can be worth an extra $1,000 a year or so in wages, after controlling for education and experience. For example, if you are six feet tall, you probably earn about $6,000 more than the equally-qualified person down the hall who measures five feet six inches. Researchers believe that height enhances self esteem, and that it begins in high school when tall kids begin to think of themselves as leaders, and that habit of thought persists even when the kids stop growing.  

We do "look up" to people we admire, and we also elevate a person in our perception. A person of stature is important, and he or she may even have lofty ideals that are higher than most. Some of us have been known to put a person on a pedestal. Heads of state originally wore crowns on their heads for only one reason: so they would tower over others and assume a more authoritative stature. Today, a good substitute for a crown on one's head is good posture!

Furthermore, we are told that rapists avoid women whose demeanor is confident. And so, it would seem that good posture is worth a lot more than a million dollars. Developing good posture is the first step leading to the kind of comportment and mannerisms that say you are proud, confident and honorable. Head and shoulders above the rest!

When you see yourself in a group photograph, are you the one who stands out, or do you disappear into the group? A part of who we are is our presence, or lack of it. It is very likely that the person who stands out in a group photograph will have good posture, which in turn suggests a more powerful presence.  

Presence, like good posture can be acquired. Most often, those who are judged to have a powerful presence exude confidence in the way they dress as well as their comportment. Just as poor posture can undermine presence, poor dress can challenge the most wonderful posture. Comportment and confidence go hand in hand, as do proper attire and presence.  

The next time you pose for a picture, enter a room, apply for a job, ask for a raise, or stand in line at the grocery store or bank, think "Proud Chest." You may get better service or more respect; and you may even improve your finances. At the very least, you will inspire others!

Sandy Dumont is an Image Consultant with over 30 year experience working with Executive Women to level the playing field with men. For a free eBook on Image and 5-Part Course [Link Removed] 


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