“Hold your drink like a man!” Whenever I coach young guys, one of the first details we correct is their body language, and in almost all social settings, a drink is involved. It’s not necessarily a beer, nor an alcoholic drink, but at any social gathering you’re bound to be standing within a crowd holding something. The way you hold your drink can really sour or enhance a first impression, depending on how you do it.
As you know, first impressions hold a ton of weight, with positive first impressions leading to social cohesion and negative first impressions leading to biases and social prejudice. So, if you’re trying to fit in with a new crowd at a party, create chemistry with the cute girl at the bar, or appear more dominant at the office happy hour, the way you hold your drink can really impact how you’re perceived.
It seems like such a tiny detail, but then again most of what we communicate about ourselves is nonverbal. In fact, an estimated 70-93% of what we communicate is nonverbal, via body language, eye contact, and micro expressions. As someone at a large gathering scans the room, they will notice height, attire, and posture. Part of that posture is going to involve how people hold their drinks. If you don’t want to come off as weak, needy or insecure, listen up. These three photos below demonstrate the WRONG way to hold a drink:
A sure fire way to look weak or insecure is the drink cradle. You know, the guy who has the beer curled up next to his chest like a mother holding a baby? He’s got the drink tight up against him, hanging on for dear life, with the other hand in his pocket. God forbid he spills or drops it! Can he look any more needy? He looks small, closed off and afraid of moving.
The rule of thumb is this: the higher the drink, the lower the confidence.
A more moderate option is the pistol hold. The guy is standing there holding the beer at his side like he’s a cowboy holding a revolver. The positioning of your arm is key. If it’s across your body, it appears weak or insecure. Again, in the photo below he appears afraid to part with the drink and has to hold it nice and tight so he doesn’t spill any. It reeks of neediness and self consciousness.
If you keep your arm parallel to your body (like Don Draper below), you may be able to pull it off.
Do you want to hold your drink like a man? Stand up straight, shoulders back and relaxed. Keep your head up too, almost as if you have a string attached to the top of your head and it’s being pulled upright. Now, here’s the trick: keep your arms extended at your sides, and hold your drink in one of those hands, parallel to your waist/leg.
You’re not cradling it, nor protecting it. If you get bumped and it spills, so what. You’re not uptight, and you can always get another one. This stance will keep you holding open body language, showing confidence and approachability. You look like a cool, relaxed man.
Good luck out there fellas! (Can’t wait for everything to open up)
– Your Big Bro