Star/Tiara badge – confidence and ‘power-priming‘ before your next interview or important meeting, write vividly about times when you have felt powerful, so that you are primed to exhibit more power in the interaction. And remember, there are some things that are more important than fear!
Walnut/Batteries – ego depletion – pro-actively manage your energy, which includes eating for performance not reward! Try seeing off your Dementors with some Whiskers on Kittens. Standard boosters are: sleep, rest, water, fresh air, walking/exercise, laughter, food (nuts and bananas), friends, kissing babies/stroking cats/nurturing, altruism, beauty, joy, music, singing, dancing, coaching others, constructive feedback, colours, views/perspective, treats, pleasure, holidays, winning, meditation/prayer, counting blessings…
Lipgloss – according to the research, wearing red lipstick makes you look younger, more attractive and more confident. It earns you more tips, makes you more likely to succeed at interview, and, by directing their gaze to your mouth, it makes your audience pay more attention to what you say.
Loom bands – friendship bracelets and ‘tend and befriend’ – as originally discovered in a Marie Claire in the Dentist’s waiting room! The article was based on a 2000 study by Taylor et al revisiting research on the fight or flight response to stress. They noticed that the ‘fight or flight’ theory was based on research that had used primarily male subjects. When female subjects were used, a contrasting theory emerged, dubbed ‘tend and befriend,’ likely linked to the action of oxytocin in the female body. Broadly, this new theory suggests that while the cavemen were out fighting the sabre-tooth tiger, the women were gathering the children around them and telling them stories to keep them calm. It suggests that an instinctive female response to stress may be to reach out to others rather than to retreat or become hostile. The Game Theorists might say that the caricatured female response to a bad day of phoning a friend for a gossip is actually a sophisticated information-sharing mechanism, and is therefore likely to lead to better outcomes than is a more buttoned-up and defensive response. Here‘s an article about it.
Coin – 50p strategy! At Lucie Clayton finishing school they had a model of the front half of an old blue sedan car, on which to practise getting in and out strategies. Your entry strategy is an imaginary 50p between the knees; your exit strategy is a high chin to minimise cleavage, lest the paparazzi be hovering. We were only taught about the passenger seat, as Ladies have Drivers… But of course what I really learned at Finishing School was that manners are simply about making other people feel comfortable. This of course is a core and vital leadership skill.
Mascara – blink rate and gaze. Blink-rate increases under stress and when you are thinking, but it also an indicator that someone is lying. Female ‘fluttering’ is also associated with flirtation. So slowing down your blink rate and holding someone’s gaze will tend to heighten your status in formal business situations.
Nail varnish – points – based on ancient theories like sumptuary law (how Cinderella got in without a ticket). What games about status are being played through dress and accessories in your organisation? And points mean prizes! You can heighten your status by adding points, as long as you calibrate with ‘local’ levels and don’t overdo it. The rule of thumb is about 9:
- 1 point for each colour (but NB fewer colours make women look more authoritative)
- 1 point for earrings
- 1 point for a necklace
- 1 point for rings in plural
- 1 point for a dressy watch or bracelet
- 1 point for a bow/neck detail/scarf/brooch etc.
- 1 point for a belt
- 1 point for an interesting detail (embroidery, big buttons, pattern, etc.)
- 1 point for shiny, patterned or coloured hosiery (I’d watch this – can look vulgar)
- 1 point for a good quality bag that is a fashion accessory
- 1 point for pretty shoes
- 1 point for a jacket
- 1 point for make-up
- 1 point for nail polish (keep it neutral in professional situations)
- 1 point for a hat or a visible hair decoration
- 1 point for glasses if they are a feature
Much of this is now written up in my book Leadersmithing.