Standing isn't just about a healthy body, it's also about a healthy attitude.  So this week's installment of Upstanding Citizen features Dana Highfill, who shows how standing can help you be more confident and assertive.
 
First, check out Dana's standing desk.  Very clever — she converted an existing bookcase.
 
"The only thing that needed a little modification was keyboard location. I put some card board down so the key board could protrude from the actual shelf. The cardboard is actually USP boxes left over from extra packing material I had around and it turned into a perfect sliding tray for the keyboard and mouse. Total cost: $30 for the bookshelf, $0 for found cardboard. I have a dining table in my office for laying out papers and generally creating a mess (which is what my desk would turn into if I had one).  Another perk of having a bookshelf as a desk is that I can keep important documents, printer paper and RWCDs available without it cluttering my work space.
 
 
 
Dana described what she likes about standing desks (my emphasis):
 
I'm more alert and attentive at the standing desk. Even when talking on the phone and using the computer I feel more present and even able to hold my ground when negotiating. When I sit I feel like I get sucked into the computer rather than just using it as a tool. Sitting for long periods encourages disconnecting from the body.
 
Exactly.  I rarely sit down when I'm on the phone anymore, particularly if I'm talking business with someone I don't know very well.  If you want to be confident and assertive, you have to carry yourself confidently and assertively.  This advice is particularly important for people who have difficulty being confident or assertive.  Consider the reverse situation: Would you curl up in the fetal position during a phone interview for a new job?  Hell no.  So don't be hunched over and passive either.
 
It's the same deal with a handshake.  A handshake is a signal of attitude.  Does a strong grip make you a good salesman?  No!  But a strong grip indicates confidence, assertiveness, and extroversion.  And those qualities make for a killer salesman.
 
If you don't have a particularly firm handshake and you don't negotiate well over the phone, then you basically have two choices.  You could be defeatist about it and say, well, I'm just not naturally assertive.  Which is about as lame as saying you're genetically predisposed to heart disease while scarfing down a gourmet cupcake.  Or you could take steps to act more confidently.  And confident posture makes you more confident.
 
Dana also saw her lower back pain go away, her productivity improve, and she spends less time on the computer.  Tip: she bends her knees slightly at her standing desk.  You don't want your legs to be hyper-extended all day long.
 
For your DIY ingenuity and upright negotiating prowess, Dana Highfill, you are an Upstanding Citizen.  Dana has her own massage therapy business in Portland, Oregon.  She also works with an organization called Quiet Thunder that teaches people to be more aware and present in their bodies.  If you're in Portland looking to re-balance, look her up.
 
You can see earlier installments of Upstanding Citizen here.  Take an interesting photo of your standing desk, and send it in.

6 Responses to “Upstanding Citizen #5: How to be more confident on the phone”

  1. Chris says:

    I wonder if there are any studies of occupations where people primarily stand versus primarily sit.  Also, I wonder how standing compares to those ergonomic chairs with knee pads that used to be popular.

  2. Chris J. says:

    Whats wrong with hyperextension of the knee all day? pressure on the joint?

    • Jason Hughston says:

      The knee joint is not designed to be kept in a locked position.  It loosens the ligaments and tendons in the knees which makes you more prone to injury.  Locking the kness also results in poor posture. 

  3. oliverh says:

    I personally have my monitor at eye level, right at middle height, she has it lower, she’s looking down.  She also stands closer than I do, I think it’s better to increase text sizes etc.. and stand a bit further back

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