Step two play to your strengths

When you target your image goals make sure you pick the right set of competencies . Look at your own USPs (unique selling points) and try to enhance them, rather than suppressing or deleting them Tweaking is good but industrial-strength masking is not It's hard to perform and the cracks will start to show

Here's how your body language works as a communication tool: I You talk to someone.

I While you're talking you gesticulate or pull a face. I They see you do this .

So far, so simple But of course the whole process is far more complex than that What happens next is something called "cognitive algebra," which is the term used to describe the following process of assessment via visual recognitions: 1. Stage one: scanning. This is when you're being generally looked at You employ a gesture Let's say you fold your arms This is the stage called "creating stimulus " You did it, they saw it If the pair of you went to court you could both swear on a stack of Bibles that's what you did.

2. Stage two: focusing. Your "listener" starts to take notice, consciously analyzing the stimulus you've produced

3. Stage three: comprehension. Consciously or subconsciously the "listener" searches for meaning in what you did . What is this gesture telling them? That you're cold? Or angry? Are you nervous? Or have you just realized you forgot to wear underwear? By now the communication has gone out of your control

4 Stage four: assimilation Your listener starts to link what they have seen to memories This is the conscious evaluation process Based on previous experiences of your gesture your listener is going to make judgments on your personality or mood The listener is rummaging through their memory banks to form connections, meaning they're trying to create understanding by relating this to a time when they've seen this gesture before and remembering what it meant when they did As you can gather, this is a very flawed way of assimilating information, especially when it comes to body language What if they have poorly evaluated their past experiences?

5. Stage five: response. This could be along the lines of: "I had a teacher once who always folded her arms when she was telling me off I therefore dislike this man because I feel he's being dictatorial and domineering " Or: "I always cross my arms when I'm feeling nervous or unsure I feel sorry for this guy and I'll do my best to make him feel at ease "

This is why it's so important to evaluate your own body language signals and make some effort to understand their effect on other people If you're aware that folding your arms could create the impression that you're standoffish or even aggressive you can begin to make moves to improve the quality of your signals, either by not folding your arms at all, ever, or you could minimize any negative connotations by balancing your gestures to create harmony

Playing to your strengths means knowing your USPs and capitalizing on them When you work on your image make sure you're accentuating the positives and masking any negatives Fit the qualities to the situation and avoid working strictly on assumption—for example, "I know that client likes me because I always speak my mind " Maybe they like you despite the fact you speak your mind . Or: "I'll never attract that guy; I get much too nervous when he talks to me " Perhaps it's your diffidence that attracted him in the first place . Did you never go for the shy guy above all the mouthier ones?

Continue reading here: How to selfassess

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