My favorite movie as a child was Disney’s The Little Mermaid. In the movie, Ursula the evil octopus witch reminds Ariel of the importance of body language.
“And don’t underestimate the importance of BODY LANGUAGE. HA!” admonishes Ursula as she swings her bountiful bottom back and forth to the rhythm of the music.
That Ursula – so evil, yet, so wise.
Body language truly is a powerful communication tool. For introverts who don’t say much, body language can be especially useful. It conveys a strong message about our values, our confidence level, our emotions and even our beliefs – all without saying a word.
But sometimes our body language lies. It tells others that we are small and insignificant when we are actually powerful beyond measure. It says that we’re happy to play it small when we were made for the big leagues.
If our body language has the power to send such strong messages about who we are and what our value is in society – why not make sure it’s telling the truth.
Read on for some simple tweaks you can make that will instantly improve your body language, and send a better message about who you are.
You can tell a winner by the look in their eyes
Shifty eyes make others feel like you are dishonest or disinterested. To gain trust and establish an instant connection, maintain eye contact during conversations. Sounds easy enough, right?
Many introverts have no problem looking people in the eye while they are listening. However, we often have trouble keeping eye contact when we are talking. The reason is that introverts are NOT verbal processors. We need to think before we speak.
What do most people do when they’re thinking? They break eye contact and look up or off into the distance. This is natural. But it does make it harder for people to connect with what you’re saying.
Make a conscious effort to make eye contact every few seconds as you’re talking. Also, keep in mind that there is such a thing as too much eye contact. You want to come off as curious and engaged, not creepy and intense.
I’ve said before that we convey entire chapters of our life story with the curve of our back. When it comes to making an impression on others, our posture matters. Period.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to lecture you about having a super straight back. You don’t need perfect posture to communicate confidence.
In fact, having an overly upright and rigid spine can convey the wrong message. Often, it makes you seem uptight or uncomfortable. Not to mention unapproachable.
Of course, being a hunchback isn’t so appealing either. Instead, make an effort to sit up and stand straight while keeping your shoulders and stomach relaxed. This way, you’ll look confident, but relaxed.
What to do with awkward arms and hands
Have you ever been talking to someone and had no freaking clue what to do with your arms. You think about crossing them, but then you remember hearing that that puts people off. Then you try to casually put your hands in your pockets, but – oops! – your outfit doesn’t have pockets.
Putting your hands on your hips seems too school teacher-like. Placing them behind your back might give the impression that you have something to hide.
What to do, what to do?
Did you consider just letting your arms dangle beside you? Seriously, just let them hang there. Once again, this shows that you are self-assured, but relaxed.
If you’re sitting, resting one elbow on the back of your chair conveys casual confidence.
These are just a few tips that I’ve tried myself and found to be very effective. Feel free to share any other body language pointers you’ve tested in the comments section below.
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I tend to keep the eye contact when I speak to someone. I’m not staring at them like Marty Feldman, but just keep gentle eye contact. i think what is also important is not to lean towards a person you apeak to, therefore keep a minimum “safe” distance. Generally speaking the goal is to be relax during a conversation, and I think is more of a skill than intrinsic talent.
Greetings from Colorado! I’m bored to tears at work so I decided to check out your website on my iphone during lunch break. I really like the info you present here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home. I’m amazed at how quick your blog loaded on my cell phone .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyhow, great site!
Welcome to my innie community Elissa! Hope you feel at home here. xo 😉
Hello, I just stumbled upon your website, love the articles, I have trouble being steady or maintaining eye contact when talking to people. Thanks for such enlightening articles.
I think the word “not” was inadvertently omitted under the section about Posture Pointers , where it says ” I am going to lecture you about …”
I think it was meant to say “I am NOT going to lecture you… .” But I imagine ya’ll figured that out. Just thought I’d put it out there since I frequently find myself accidentally leaving a word out here and there also, when I text or post, etc. I wonder if that is common among Introverts, or if that happens to everyone. What do you all think? Just curious.
Corrected. 😉 Not sure if this is a common introvert problem, but in our society of constant texting and emailing it is an easy mistake to make. xo