Thursday, December 02, 2004

Keep Your Apples Up!

I attended a workshop titled something like, "Powerful Communications Skills for Women Attorneys: How to gain respect and Power." All of the research that I have read about women in the business world says that women are too submissive and pleasing for many people to take seriously--we smile too much and have gestures, attitudes and postures that convey weakness. Therefore I expected this workshop to identify these weak actions and learn more powerful substitutions. Damn, was I ever wrong.

The presenter's main point was to "keep our apples up." This means always having a near smile on our faces (which raise the 'apples' of our cheeks) and generally appearing open and receptive. WTF!?! This sounded like a load of horseshit to me and I felt myself wearing a mild version of my "I'm not buying what you are trying to sell me" face. This face is super-disturbing to men and I have had professors and speakers tell me that I am the most disturbing audience member that they have ever encountered--they don't want to make eye contact with me, but can't seem to help it. While it is rare that I wear this face, I am actually quite pleased with it and take these comments as an odd form of compliment.

After the presentation I asked the speaker how I could make use of this expression to my advantage. She agreed that I was a very disturbing audience member because I am so hard to read. She also said that I especially need to "keep my apples up" because apparently my natural face position looks "very pissed off". Nice. Going on, I was told to 'work my dimples' to my advantage. Seriously. I went to this workshop expecting to learn how to interact professionally--not how to flirt and smile to get my way. That has never been my style and I don't respect women who use these tactics. Besides, I smile a lot because I am generally a happy person, so I rarely wear my pissed off face. I wonder if it occurred to her that maybe I looked pissed off because of what she was saying? Hmmmm.....probably not.

So anyway-"keep your apples up" as a key to business success.


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