Many people worry that they have to be extroverted to use body language. But this is far from the truth! If you have shy body language or consider yourself an introvert, you can master body language and nonverbal behavior to strengthen your interactions and gain confidence.

Susan Cain, champion of Introverts and author of the New York Times Bestseller, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, argues that as a society we dramatically undervalue introverts. In her book, she shares the success stories of many introverts to persuade both extroverts and introverts alike to see the power in the quiet. Here’s a few of our tips for introverts:

Take Up Space

When you take up more space in your environment, this helps you claim territory and assert your confidence. So instead of crossing your legs or tucking in your shoulders and head, try being expansive. Keep your head high, your shoulders loose, sit larger in your chair and walk with long strides.

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Don’t Cross Your Arms

Defeated or low power poses lower your testosterone levels and increase your stress hormone cortisol. So avoid crossing your arms and tightly crossing your legs. Keep your trunk wide open to people around you. Remember, this shows you are approachable to others and keeps you in a more open-minded attitude.

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Don’t Check Your Phone When You Are Nervousintrovert, map, introvert heart

Introverts tend to check their phone when they are nervous, but this puts you right into defeated body language. So try to avoid checking your phone when you want to feel confident and again try to relax and be expansive. I know someone who carries a newspaper around with him because that is an easier way to take up space.

Special Note: I love this drawing by Gemma Correll –>

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Use the Triple Nod

The triple nod is the nonverbal equivalent of the ellipses or three periods. It is a nonverbal cue for someone to keep talking. If you are introverted and aren’t great at making conversations, you want to encourage the person you are speaking with to keep talking. Once they are done speaking and pause, nod three times in quick succession and they will often continue. If not, you can pick up where the conversation left off, but this is a great way of showing engagement and lengthening a discussion.

Simply being aware and wanting more open body language can help you engage people and have better connections.

About Vanessa Van Edwards

Vanessa Van Edwards is a national best selling author & founder at Science of People. Her groundbreaking book, Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People has been translated into more than 16 languages. As a recovering awkward person, Vanessa helps millions find their inner charisma. She regularly leads innovative corporate workshops and helps thousands of individual professionals in her online program People School. Vanessa works with entrepreneurs, growing businesses, and trillion dollar companies; and has been featured on CNN, BBC, CBS, Fast Company, Inc., Entrepreneur Magazine, USA Today, the Today Show and many more.

20 replies on “4 Body Language Tips for Introverts and Shy People to Inspire Confidence”

    1. Kensi Science of People

      Hi Muhammad! Can you clarify what you’re looking for? You are welcome to print and keep the blog posts if you’d like! -Kensi | Science of People Team

  1. Karla

    I love this article! My favorite tip is taking up space. Sometimes it’s easy to want to roll in to a ball in situations that are out of your comfort zone and taking up space is a small reminder that you will be ok!

  2. Dan

    I believe those tips are not only for introvets, they are useful to all types of personalities. I particularly like the one regarding checking of the phone and getting into low-power body position. Checking phone while looking to the side rather than downwards is something I am trying to implement every now and then, and yeah, it feels a bit uncomfortable, but in terms of our hormonal levels. it may be more beneficial 🙂

  3. Anne Daniel

    I love your work Vanessa, I read all your emails and am working my way through all your videos. Thank you for them all.

    Unfortunately, I cannot feedback to you via Twitter because I haven’t been brave enough to open a Twitter account. The reason being that I’d like to cut down on screen time!

    Thank you for everything.

  4. Lauren Freeman

    Whenever I’m on the bus to class and don’t want to make small talk with the people around me, I am always hunched over on my phone – what a terrible impression to give off! I think of myself as an ambivert but being on public transport or being in a room with people I don’t know makes me feel very introverted, I am super guilty of closing my body off and being unapproachable. What I love is that power posing and opening up your body/taking up space will actually make you feel more confident, not just look it. So crazy that such small, seemingly insignificant body movements can change your brain chemicals that way 🙂

  5. Liam Hayes

    Cool section! I specially agree with the take up space advice. Although I have to say that as a person who rides public transportation a lot and sees a lot of people look into their phones, that looking into your phone doesn’t to me seem like something bad to do all the time. There do seem to be ways to look into your phone and still look cool doing it. Although, I could be wrong about that though.

  6. Daniel Everett Farrer

    I love being able to use this information with my clients who have Depression and Anxiety. It’s amazing how it helps them increase their self confidence.

  7. Bella Perennis

    Sometimes it’s really hard to not cross your arms, though.When I feel nervous it’s difficult not to comfort myself with certain gestures.

  8. Robby Smith

    These are all wonderful tips on how an introvert can be perceived as more confident in a group setting. The introverts guide to win friends and influence people. Now as an Ambivert, I think in certain situations we we can still lean towards the introvert side of personality and forget about how we can thrive in interacting with people. Thank you Vanessa!

  9. Stacey Crutcher

    I’m a introvert by nature and very observant of other people and things within my environment. I consider myself (self aware). I know when I am put in a situation that makes me feel uncomfortable or nervous, I tend to get really quiet almost power posing in a way to remain calm and focus–rarely checking any type of mobile device.

  10. Angela Payne

    Vanessa, I take it that you’re an extrovert! The only problem I find with this article is that you have confused introversion with shyness and/or social awkwardness. I am an introvert but can quite happily stand on stage in front of many others and do an off the cuff presentation. I can also talk to others easily and make small talk like there’s no tomorrow. But, as an introvert I find it mentally tiring, and after doing a presentation or attending a networking event, I need some quiet time to myself. Meanwhile, my daughter is shy, but has extrovert tendencies – she loves being around others, and hates being alone for very long. So please don’t confuse introverts with people who are shy, you do us both a disservice! 🙂

  11. Danielle McRae

    As an Introvert, this is the perfect article for me. I ALWAYS check my phone when I’m nervous, and I never realized what kind of body language I was giving off by doing that. It has become such a habit for me, but I’m definitely going to be more aware of my body language when I’m nervous or in a situation where I’m speaking with people I just met.

  12. Beyond the content, I what to thank you for the continuing updates and insights you post for the benefit of your UDEMY students. I appreciate the ongoing interaction. Looking forward to the “Shark Tank” twitter night when your schedule allows.

  13. Carl

    Straight back, chin up! I can hear my mother when we I was young. She kept repeating that you should always “meet” people head on, no hiding. My tomato coloured face did its best but my God did I suffer. Now some people say that they miss the old me as I’ve grown into a “Talk to anyone” kind of person. That is off course an illusion because on the inside we do not change, mature yes but change no.
    I can confirm the triple nod, works wonders as most people love their own opinion and an audience.
    Another way is to repeat the last word they say, that is what many psychologists do.

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