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How to Enter a Room Like You Own the Place

If you have a big job interview or presentation coming up, you've probably already thought a lot about how to make a good first impression. You know you need to dress professionally, for example, and make eye contact. Perhaps you've even thought about things like the strength of your handshake or the genuineness of your facial expressions. But you probably never thought about one key ingredient for winning over your audience: the way you enter a room.

Esther Williams 

(Photo Credit: danperry.com/Flickr)

Over at The Art of Manliness, John Cochran explains the importance of entering a room "like a boss":

...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.

Unfortunately, clients, interviewers, and colleagues are more likely to remember the open fly than the carefully chosen attire and the strong handshake.

The solution? Preparation before you walk into the room, and a little careful attention during your big entrance. Here, in addition to The Art of Manliness's excellent tips, are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Dress with care.

It's not enough to choose an outfit that will impress -- you have to choose clothing that will mitigate potential disasters like Cochran's fly example. Don't wear the shirt that tends to unbutton itself while you're concentrating on other things or the shoes that trip you up when you walk over a millimeter-high bump in the carpet.

2. Fake it till you make it.

"...[Y]ou can start to build your confidence right now by telling yourself that you've got it in you; the more you believe that you are capable, the more you will be," writes Alexander Spradlin in Psychology Today. "The placebo effect tells us that expectations alone can be strong enough to overcome diseases and afflictions, and the self-fulfilling prophecy illustrates how your predictions about a situation influence the outcome, so why shouldn't you be able to alter your expectations about your own abilities and experience a renewal of confidence?"

3. Take a deep breath.

Breathing exercises can help manage anxiety, which is the enemy of self-confidence (or even just the appearance of it), or be a form of meditation, if your problem is more concentration than finding your calm center.

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