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:
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. Don’t Check Your Phone When You Are Nervous
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 –>
4. 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
Lead Investigator, Science of People
I’ve always wanted to know how people work, and that’s what Science of People is about. What drives our behavior? Why do people act the way they do? And most importantly, can you predict and change behavior to be more successful? I think the answer is yes. More about Vanessa.
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