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"Art of Street Smarts" Lesson IV: PERSONAL PRESENTATION

One of the things that you can count on when out in or near the streets is that masses of people will be sizing you up. “Sizing you up” means that they will be scanning you to try and guess how strong and tough you might be if they have to fight you. This is usually an innocent act with no ill intent but don’t ever count on it. Be ready at all times to go into full action if needed.

The way that you present yourself when in the streets can tell a street person in a matter of seconds if they do or don't want to challenge you. The way that you walk, the way that you make expressions, the way that you stand, the way that you sit, the way that you speak and more are all things that announce to others who you may be at heart. This is why you must never appear to have a weak heart or a naïve mind. You must always present yourself well.

Here’s the Street Smart etiquette for presenting yourself to others:

  • Stay off of your phone when walking, entering or occupying a room. Phones distract and dilute your awareness and criminals know this. They target people who are texting or talking on their phone. Being on your phone when in a room with others can come off as being intentionally rude, arrogant, and even afraid. When off your phone around others you demonstrate that you are aware of their presence. This also demonstrates that you are leaving yourself open to acknowledge and communicate with others in the room if desired. In today’s world, the person who does not have a phone connected to his or her face stands out to others as one who is not one of the weak sheep within the masses.

  • Walk with your good posture and a raised head. Act as if you have been wherever you are many times before even if you haven’t. Make quick, courteous eye contact with everyone that you past. Acknowledge their existence with a nod, smile, wave, or greeting. Never snub or ignore strangers and do not stare. You want to appear comfortable and in control as if you know something that everyone else doesn’t. Whistle softly. Hum. Sing. These gestures announce calmness and confidence.

  • How you stand can say a lot. Standing with your hands hanging at your side can make you appear assured and even dominant to others. Most people feel uncomfortable with their hands free. They feel as if they appear as if they don’t know what to do with their hands. That is only a thought in their head. Standing with hands free demonstrates self assurance. Here are some tips on ways to stand and what it could be announcing about you to others:

a) Standing with 1 hand in a pocket and 1 free can give you the appearance as if you are relaxed, comfortable, worry free and approachable.

b) Standing with both hands in your pockets can make you appear meek, lost, and even afraid. It can also make others assume that you may be up to something sneaky.

c) Standing with both of your hands folded in front of yourself across the groin area can make you appear courteous, well mannered, respectful and patient.

d) Standing with both hands together behind your back can make you appear combative, aggressive, and possibly arrogant.

  • Always take the initiative to greet others when you enter a room or they enter the room that you are occupying. Be respectful to everyone. Be friendly to kids and chivalrous towards women, children, elders, and handicap. Behaving in this manner gives you control of the room. Most people are afraid to speak to strangers so when you demonstrate that you are not, you will be announcing that you are someone out of the norm who is not afraid to do that which they are afraid to do. Decent people will appreciate and admire you for this, and potential trouble makers will think twice before bringing trouble your way.

  • Demonstrate a healthy, kid friendly sense of humor. Crack a soft joke if possible. Making a person laugh is one of the best ways to disarm their ill thoughts. They most likely will even appreciate it afterwards. Exhibiting a sense of humor towards strangers and associates allows them to feel as if you don’t think you’re better than them, or planning to belittle or harm them. It frees them to feel comfortable and possibly even safe. The person with a good sense of humor can seize control of and determine the tone of a room in seconds.

  • Without appearing paranoid to others, always do your best to put your back against a wall or towards an area where others aren’t. This is simply a good practice that allows you to see everyone before they approach you while not having to worry about who might sneak up behind you.

  • Identify the exits along with a clear path to it just in case you need to leave in a hurry. Don’t position yourself where you are trapped in the location.

How you present yourself will influence how people will present themselves to you. It is your duty to teach people how to treat you through your appearance and behavior. Be the person who decent, progressive people want to create relationships with, and the person who predators and negative people want to avoid. You have the power. Be Street Smart with it.

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Jermaine Andre


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