Entering a room with at least three backing vocalists garners one immediate attention and respect.
From The Art of Manliness:
Charlie Dresow knew when he entered the courtroom that every eyeball would be trained on him.
It was the first day of trial for his client, Max Wade. A child of a well-to-do family who was raised in affluent Marin County outside San Francisco, Wade was accused of a crime spree of epic proportions, including a daring heist of celebrity chef Guy Fieri’s yellow Lamborghini, as well as stealing police uniforms and badges, and attempted murder.
The car theft wasn’t just any car theft. This was the Mission Impossible of car thefts.
The Food Network star’s Lambo was in for service at British Motor Cars, a luxury car dealership in San Francisco. Shortly past midnight, a man dressed in all black rappelled down from the roof of the dealership and into a window. Security camera footage showed the man stalking around the dealership, ninja-style, until he drove off in the Italian sports car.
The attempted murder was equally brazen. A man – also dressed in black – rode up on a motorcycle and opened fire on a girl and her boyfriend as they sat in a truck talking in broad daylight.
And perhaps the craziest part? Wade was under 18 at the time the crimes occurred.
The sensational nature of these crimes meant everything would be riding on Dresow, and that all eyes would be on him when he entered the courtroom that day.
Dresow knew he couldn’t look unsure of himself as he walked in. You need to “just walk in like you know what you’re doing even if you don’t,” he says. Most importantly, he needed to project an air of authority, conviction, and certainty. “You have to have a plan and be confident in what you want to do and do it the way you want to do it.”
He had to look, in other words, like a boss.
Only he had to look like the good kind of boss — more like Tom Hanks’ character in Saving Private Ryan, and less like Alec Baldwin’s character in Glengarry Glen Ross.
Dresow knew, intuitively, the importance of making a strong first impression. “If you don’t take how you appear seriously,” he says, “how can you expect anyone else to take you seriously?”
Why How You Enter a Room Matters
Even if you aren’t a high-profile trial attorney like Charlie Dresow, you are being judged every time you enter a room.
Imagine, for example, you’ve just entered a room full of people you want to impress. It could be a roomful of your peers, or potential clients, or even a bar filled with attractive women.
You’re feeling pretty good — you’re wearing a new shirt and you’ve got your best cologne on that smells like George Clooney in a bottle.
And then one of your buddies pulls you aside and whispers to you that your fly is open.
Ouch. You’ve just experienced the brutal reality of first impressions. They can be good, and they can be really, really bad.
But here’s the thing: leaving your zipper open is just one obvious example of ways we all can ruin a first impression. In reality, there are many things we all do, unintentionally, when we enter a room or gathering of new people that equates to walking into a room with our fly open.
In other words, we’re killing our best chances at success with our own bad habits, mistakes, or simply ignorance. The stakes here are high. First impressions set the tone for entire relationships, whether it’s interviewing for a job, meeting one’s future in-laws for the first time, introducing ourselves to someone we admire, landing a new client, or getting a girl.
But here’s the good news – it doesn’t have to be that way. There are things we can — and should — do to put our best foot forward anytime we enter a room.
Art of Manliness has previously covered how to command a room like a man. Today I’m going to back up a bit and share specific steps you can take to enter any room projecting an air of confidence, self-assurance, and authority, without coming off like Michael Scott walking into a Dunder Mifflin staff meeting.
Below I share 9 specific, easy-to-implement tips culled from experts in psychology, social dynamics, and networking that will show you how to enter any room like a boss.
9 Tips for Projecting Confidence and Authority When You Enter Any RoomBelow, I have included 9 easy things you can do to make your entrances convey confidence and authority. I broke them down into two steps – first, what things you should do to prepare to enter a room, and second, what you should do as you are actually making your grand entrance.
How to Prepare to Enter a Room
Being able to enter a room with confidence begins long before you ever cross the threshold of the door. Getting in the right mindset before you get to an event will prepare you to put your best foot forward once you get there. Here’s how.
1. Create a Dressing Ritual
Dresow, the criminal defense attorney, suggests creating a “pregame ritual” to settle your mind and make sure your clothing and appearance are up to snuff. He jokes that he learned a lot from reading about NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders’ pregame clothing ritual. “On the morning of every game he would lay out his uniform on the locker room floor exactly how he intended to wear it, with the pads, jersey, armbands, et cetera, all laid out on the floor,” says Dresow. “On gameday, he would put the pads on in a specific order and that was part of how he’d get into his game mindset.”
The routine had two benefits. First, it ensured Sanders’ equipment was all there and ready to go. By laying out your clothes the night before an interview or an event, you can check to see if your clothes are clean and your dog hasn’t chewed up your only tie. Secondly, Sanders pregame habit gave him greater confidence going into the high-stakes world of a professional football game. The rituals of getting ready for an important meeting – shaving with a safety razor, ironing your clothes, shining your shoes, tying your tie — can similarly work wonders in settling your mind.
Just don’t do the high step as you’re leaving the room.
2. Do Power Poses Before Entering the Room
You probably understand already that positioning our bodies in certain ways can convey nonverbal messages of “power.”Also at The Art of Manliness:
Just picture Macho Man Randy Savage strutting around the ring with his chest puffed out, or a King sitting on a royal throne. (The King Charles kind of King, not the Elvis Presley kind.)
But here’s something you may not know: the act of positioning our bodies in powerful ways not only makes others perceive us as more powerful, it makes us feel more powerful ourselves.
Harvard psychologist Amy Cuddy has found that standing tall directly influences our biochemistry. “In all animal species, postures that are expansive, open, and take up more space are associated with high power and dominance,” she says. In a research study she conducted, when participants were asked to strike one of these “power poses,” the results were amazing: after just two minutes in a high power pose, testosterone rose and cortisol (a natural hormone that the body releases in response to stress) decreased. By simply standing in a more dominant way, their bodies’ physiology changed to that of a dominant person....MUCH MORE
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As an example of the power inherent in having your own backup singers see Saturday's "Some People Just Know How To Make An Entrance":