I’ve been reading The Definitive Book of Body Language: Why What People Say Is Very Different from What They Think or Feel by Barbara Pease & Allan Pease and I found the first ten or so chapters pretty dull and unoriginal.
I’d heard about mirroring before and that crossed arms or legs meant closed off or unreceptive and a lot of the other things in the first half of The Definitive Book of Body Language.
But Chapter Thirteen, The Secret Signals of Cigarettes, Glasses, and Makeup, was full of new information! I don’t smoke but I do wear glasses (or contact lenses).
I’d always felt like I was treated differently when I wear glasses instead of contacts and on the rare occasions I wear makeup (as opposed to my everyday lip gloss look). And it was reassuring to learn that people perceive people in glasses as “being more studious and intelligent, particularly in the early stages of a meeting” provided that they are not “oversized lenses, Elton-John-style colored frames, or designer glasses with distracting initials on the frame. Wearing glasses that are one size larger than the face can make younger people look older, more studious, and more authoritative.” And the heavier the frame on the glasses, the more they are perceived as studious, intelligent, conservative, educated, and sincere! “Frameless, small, or spindly frames convey a powerless image and say that you are more interested in fashion than business.”
Wearing sunglasses on your head, a style I’m often seen sporting, gives “the wearer the appearance that they have two huge eyes with dilated pupils on top of their heads” which gives them a relaxed, youthful, and “cool” appearance.
And the combination of glasses and makeup?
Women wearing both glasses and makeup are described as confident, intelligent, sophisticated, and outgoing. Some women (but never men) find women wearing glasses and makeup to be confident and cold, arrogant, and/or conceited (indicating that they may have seen them as possible competition).
And women who wear makeup without glasses appear to listeners as having good appearance and personal presentation but low listening and other personal skills.
Makeup gives women a more intelligent, confident, and sexier image and the combination of glasses and makeup in business has the most positive and memorable impact on observers.
And lipstick? Not surprisingly, women with reduced lipstick in muted or pastel colors are seen as more career-oriented and businesslike, while women wearing red lipstick are seen as more interested in themselves and men’s attention. What I wasn’t expecting is that women with no lipstick are seen as more serious about work than men but lacking in personal skills!
Guess I’ll start wearing glasses and makeup for those power meetings.