Hut – hut – hut – hut! Hut – hut – hut – hut! Hut – hut – hut – hut!
The sound of Marines marching echoes in your ears if you listen for it. Marines, soldiers, sailors — even Abbott and Costello had to march when they were in the army. But you could always tell the real soldiers from the comedians because Costello’s posture was laughably poor.
In fact, posture is such an obvious marker of social class that Abbott and Costello were able to take advantage of that to get laughs in movies like Buck Privates. Unfortunately, if your posture is poor you won’t be getting laughs if you’re an attorney or any other professional; instead, you’re apt to be passed over in favor of an expert who has better posture, specifically, an upper-class stance.
Our research — conducted in law offices, college classrooms, airports, and urban neighborhoods over the past three decades — discovered trends that are significant with respect to posture and social class: it turns out that members of the upper class stand, walk, and sit tall, while working class individuals slouch, bend, and have a more curved posture in comparison.
We conclude one thing from this research, namely that posture is a clear marker of social class and that the way you stand, sit, and walk is a dead giveaway to new clients, judges, and colleagues about where you fall in the social hierarchy.
When we do image consultations, we offer optional help on posture for clients. Not everyone is interested in this aspect of their image; but they should be. If you have middle-class or working-class posture, you are a walking, talking advertisement for failure rather than success, especially when dealing with people from the upper class.
For this reason, we offer clients the option of improving their posture through various tested methods, including horseback riding lessons. There is no question that these lessons, which you can see in the accompanying video, can result in better overall posture because the proper posture for riding a horse will carry over into your professional life.
“I’ve seen it many times,” says a New York riding instructor. “People with poor posture take riding lessons and they walk out that same day with better posture.”
The best way to avoid being a walking advertisement for failure is to mimic an upper-class posture. Horseback riding and other simple exercises can improve your posture and elevate you in the minds of others, ultimately leading to smoother interactions both on and off the job.