Learning how to develop poise is like learning to put make up on but for the body! Read my article if you don’t know what Poise?
While you put make up to present your best face forward, poise is presenting your personal best to the world.
Why is developing poise important?
It is a form of communication. It is something like an advertisement, or a silent ‘salesman’. It tells people something about you…good things, without you having to explicitly say.
For instance, a woman with elegant poise tells people that she has composure, dignity and self-respect.
Another woman with a graceful poise makes her more physically beautiful and attractive that the physical features she was born with. She would be such a beauty to watch, as she moves elegantly around the room or go about her ways.
A girl with an intelligent poise may provoke interest in high calibre people. Their university professors might pause a second longer to listen to what she has to say. She might find favor in getting hired. She might attract intelligent-minded people.
A certain stance would make you seem more confident, attractive, smart and successful. What those impressions may bring…who knows? But they are certainly more favorable than being dismissed.
Ever notice yourself in an accidental photo with the perfect poise? Compare this to a photo where you were caught in a terrible poise – say with eyelids half-open (because you were blinking) or in an awkward stance?
You smile and think that you looked good for the former, and you shudder at the latter.
Thus, our goal is to communicate composure, dignity, respect and graceful movement through poise.
Here are some basic tips on how to develop poise.
Dress Your Best
Dress your best to always give yourself confidence that you already look great. There is a psychological effect when you do that. Your body responds to your thoughts and that influences how you feel. How you feel projects how you you look!
Haven’t you had days when you wore something great and bumped into some people you like? You were so glad that it happened. There are also days when you accidentally had a chance meeting with your boss looking like a total slob? You didn’t feel very good then did you?
When you feel confident, great, and on top of the world, it reflects a certain poise. You look healthy, radiant and ready to take on the world!
When you’re feeling low, sloppy, ugly – you feel like bear just wanting to crawl back under to hibernate for 6 months of winter. You hope you don’t meet anyone. That also will show up in your poise (or lack thereof).
Study the Way that You Walk
There is a misconception that girls think a beautiful walk is the fashion-model strut, like on a runway. Get rid of the supermodel walk. It is reserved for very few occasions (like if you’re a fashion model working the runway), and there’s no place for it in your everyday walk.
My dance teacher once told me that for graceful posture, imagine a string in the middle of your chest putting upwards (gently) without over arching your back.
To be honest with you, after so many years, I’m still working on my walk! I have made progress in correcting some bad habits. So be patient with yourself.
About half a century ago, girls were taught how to walk. These lessons existed in schools, not just in specialty or finishing schools, but everywhere. It is a pity it is not longer a requirement to learn how to walk.
Learning to walk is important. It teaches us how to breathe, sit and use our bodies ergonomically. It is for good health, helps our self-confidence and esteem. It definitely projects elegance.
I hope one day these training lessons on how to walk come back in fashion today, even if it is only for health reasons!
The learning of proper carriage and poise is called the art of deportment
See also Posture Photos.
Most of our digital cameras or cell phones have that handy little function these days. Have someone videotape your walk, the way you sit, stand, talk, laugh, eat, drink. It is through this awareness that gives us a better understanding. That understanding will help us edit both consciously and subconsciously.
Part of Audrey Hepburn’s charm I believe attributed to her very beautiful walk.
It is certainly not that easy to correct your walk and learn how to walk beautifully with dignity and grace. If you have a mother with a beautiful walk, most likely you will too! How blessed you are!
Unfortunately for us, we have a nation of bad examples. The sedentary lifestyles that we have are not doing us any favors. The beautiful pavements have caused our core – very essential for good posture – to disengage and weaken.
How do you find examples of beautiful walks?
A dying breed – classical ballet dancers. Watch some youtube videos of Ballet classics like Swan Lake, Giselle, Romeo and Juliet and watch how the Kings, Queens and other nobles walk around the stage. That is a beautiful, elegant walk.
Professional ballroom dancers have this beautiful posture and poise too.
Another source of elegant walking examples are watch movies set from either the 50s (Audrey Hepburn/Grace Kelly movies!) or from Victorian times. Actresses had to portray perfect carriage and posture.
Do people learn poise and carriage now? Not many, except ballet dancers and actors (who have to act from people of that era of elegance. Or maybe they only practice for extremely glamorous events, such as the Oscars or something.
How unfortunate that most of us don’t get a chance to train for and develop poise! It is such a thing of beauty and very rare these days.
There’s no point in being perfectly dressed and walking like a duck. You may pay tens of thousands for the stylist to dress you but no one can be poised for you.
Some Elegant Posture Tools
I believe the foundation of poise is good posture. Strictly speaking, you can have less-than-ideal posture with a beautiful poise, but that is rare. You must be an extremely unique and impressive person to really pull that off. (One example that comes to my mind is Coco Chanel.)
There are some tools that you can use to help build some muscle memory for good posture..
This posture brace is one. Get one if you sit at your desk for long periods of time. This is to prevent hunching over.
However, don’t solely depend on them. Get your core working with core exercises. Learning ballet and ballroom dancing too would help!
My ballet teacher gave me this tip for achieving good posture. She tells me to imagine a string from the middle of my chest pulling me up towards the sky. While it is pulling, I must be careful not to over-arch my back , keeping my ribs in and my shoulders pressed down.
While the ‘string in the middle of your chest’ helps, I also wear a back brace from time to time for my shoulders to keep them relaxed, down and not rolled forward.
I use a lumbar-wear as well – it is kind of a girdle that supports my lower back. I don’t use corsets but I hear that it helps. It is no wonder Victorian women at that time always had great posture (and thus poise).
Exercise For Poise and Posture
I’ve noticed that people who exercise regularly do not seem to have problems of attaining good posture. With good posture, half the battle is won to achieve an elegant poise.
Dancing helps too. Especially ballet and ballroom dancing.
Keep Your Arms To Your Sides
Another tip of how to develop poise is to keep your arms close to your sides as much as you can, in a relaxed way. When I took posture lessons, my instructor told us to constrict movements from your elbows as much as possible. Obviously don’t stick your arms like glue to your sides. If your shoulders are hunched upwards, that’s too close.
Never Ever Rush Or Be In A Hurry
To be poised to never seem like you’re in a hurry, no matter what calls. Do not walk too quickly. Do not strut making loud sounds of your heels clicking against the boardwalk. Do not eat in a hurry, no matter how hungry you are. Do not zip up your purse in an anxious and fast way. Be as quiet as possible and unhurried. This also means no slamming of car doors, house doors, fridge door, no matter how you feel. It is all about being in a relaxed control.
Obviously, this is harder than it looks especially in the fast paced society that we live in. I’m guilty as charged! If you find yourself hurrying everywhere, it is probably due to poor time management.
You could also be doing too much. Slow down, select (root meaning of the word “elegance” is be selective) – elegance is after all, a way of life.
There is a certain kind of chic gentleness in being poised. Gentle and elegant gestures increases our beauty. Clothes are not the only ‘covering’ we wear.
It is much easier to be gentle when you are kind and tender. Gentle is an all encompassing word. If you’re gentle to little animals, you’ll be gentle towards someone’s feelings. You’ll also probably not slam things around.
Read more about how to be gentle.
Smile Much, Laugh Softly
Similarly, as learning to be gentle is instrumental in developing poise, being poised also means having a gentle smile as well as soft harmonious laughter.
Grinning widely like a greedy con-artist or laughing like a hyena with mouth wide open is NOT going to contribute to your appearance of poise.
And neither does knee-slapping, hand-clapping or back slapping will too.
Watch Your Hands – Do Not Touch Or Fidget
Some of us have problems keeping our hands to ourselves. The problem of fidgety hands and wanting to touch everything, signifies an internal problem of being ‘unable to relax’. If you want to develop poise, train yourself to keep them relaxed and do yourself.
Don’t be digging into your purse, looking at your iphone every 30 seconds, touching your face, hair. It is good to practice restraint. See also Elegant Gestures.
Have A Deep Respect Of Others and Things Around You
Women with elegant poise seem to have a deep respect of others and things around them. For instance, they tend to leave a place the way it was when they entered. They are not ones to touch things in another person’s house. If they borrowed something, it would be in the exact condition (or better sometimes) when they received it.
They’ll not be one of those that leave the hotel rooms in a complete mess just because they don’t have to clean up. They won’t drive a rented a car in a way they won’t drive their own. They won’t say, “who cares? It is rented.” They are also not the sort steal blankets from airplanes etc.
See also How to be Classy.
How to Develop Poise Summary
- Dress Your Best
- Videotape Yourself
- Study the Way that You Walk
- Elegant Posture With Extra Help
- Exercise For Poise and Posture
- Keep Your Arms To Your Sides
- Never Ever Rush Or Be In A Hurry
- Be Gentle
- Smile Much, Laugh Softly
- Watch Your Hands – Do Not Touch Or Fidget
- Have A Deep Respect Of Others and Things Around You
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my article on How to Develop Poise! I’ll be here for you rooting for you all the way. 🙂
Thank you for reading ‘How to Develop Poise’!
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August 5, 2017 at 5:24 pm
Thank you for this write up on poise. It is very detailed and very enlightening . Just what I was looking for .Thank you and God bless you
April 4, 2019 at 7:26 am
Thank you so much for your article.God Bless you always.
December 26, 2019 at 4:33 pm
Thank you for your view on poise. It is very very helpful. Blessings
November 26, 2020 at 12:44 am
Very well written and explained…helped to introspect and developed a plan to implement…Thank You !