The Winning Voice

Best in class communication techniques from Michael Kelly

How to walk, so you don’t get mugged

In the book Race: How Blacks And Whites Think and Feel About The American Obsession, by oral historian Studs Terkel, there is a quotation on p. 39 from an Afro-American man named Julian Jefferson.

Here is the quotation:

‘I’ve never had any run-ins with the police. I credit that to my mother. I’ve known people that walk down the street and the police throw them against the wall and frisk them.

I’ve never had that. Is it the way I live? The way I carry myself? It goes right back to my upbringing. How you carry yourself is what you’ll get’.

Consider this. Whatever can be seen or heard, will be seen or heard and will form an impression. You are always sending impressions. What are they conveying?

Aligned to conveying impressions and, to how you carry yourself, below is copy from my 2011 post entitled,

How to walk so you don’t get mugged.

“Inmates who were shown video clips of people walking on a city footpath rated who would, and who wouldn’t, be good prospects to mug.” 

I came across this quote when recently reviewing information from my body language research library.

The only reference I found for the quote was ‘Esquire magazine article, by John Poppy’ – and my notes about the article.

Let me explain the quote.

In a study where inmates were shown video clips of various people walking, they rated people who walked not too slowly or too quickly, as not being good prospects to mug. (That is, these people were not seen as easy prey). Other attributes that marked these people as not good to mug were their relaxed body movement and gait, and that they appeared to be on route to a destination (ie. versus walking without a purpose).

In addition to keeping this ‘not too slow or to quick’ walking method in mind, here are additional ideas on how to walk, so that you signal confidence and certainty to others (and if the situation arises, to not be seen as easy prey for potential muggers).

  1. Focus your body a few centimeters below your naval, midway below your back and stomach.
  2. Keep your weight down low. Be aware of your pelvic girdle rocking back and forth.
  3. Let your legs drop free from your hips. Let them flow.
  4. Allow your body to move. Let your hands and arms swing freely.
  5. Make firm contact with the soles of your feet on the ground.
  6. Walk with this analogy in mind: Like a monorail train car, smoothly running along its track.

Own the Conversation

In the next seven days, observe how other people walk and carry themselves, and rate them in relation to the above ideas and points. For example, do they signal confidence and certainty? Begin adding one of above six points into your ‘walk’.


p.s. Check out the post entitled, Persuasion by depth of conviction.

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