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12 Everyday Situations That Introverts Are Especially Good At Handling

12 Everyday Situations That Introverts Are Especially Good At Handling

Despite the growing conversation surrounding introverts, the group is still commonly misunderstood. As a fellow introvert, I understand the misconceptions that we have to constantly battle. I’m not shy because I’m introverted and I do enjoy socializing, just in a different setting than the standard societal norm.

It can be hard for society to understand things an introvert might naturally be good at, simply because they are introverted. Clearly, most of our societal constructs cater to the outgoing extrovert – our educational system, open-concept office spaces and loud bars for example, are built for them.

While it’s true that introverts can have a vast skill set like anyone else, there are a few everyday situations where we bring key strengths that extroverts will most likely lack.

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1. Just because we’re not talking doesn’t mean we’re not engaged.

We like to listen and observe more than anything else, so that usually means we are acutely aware of our environment. Because of this, we are almost always in tune with our surroundings, regardless of how little we interact with them. As a result, we can also synthesize the information that we are constantly taking in, making connections that extroverts may otherwise miss.

2. We don’t like small talk because we prefer deeper conversations.

I can speak from experience on this one – I’m just not good at small talk. It’s forced, flat, and often more painful than anything else. I prefer to say something when there is something important to say. But sometimes, small talk cannot be avoided. As a result, I’ve learned over the years that asking questions to steer the conversation to a deeper level. This direction can help unleash a more emotional connection and lead to some really great conversations.

3. We may not network with everyone at the office mixer but that’s only because we crave authenticity in all of our interactions, business or personal.

Networking can be stressful for introverts, after all, isn’t it just small talk with the end goal of advancing your career? While an extrovert may prioritize knowing everyone on a superficial level by the end of the night, introverts will be happy to have had a few conversations with others based on a more solid, meaningful connection.

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4. Even though we tend to avoid confrontation with friends or family, we are actually the best ones to execute it.

Introverts are good listeners, and oftentimes, someone who needs to be confronted is acting out for a reason. Since introverts are skilled at listening and observing, we can understand why the situation is happening and use this insight to help craft a plan that will satisfy everyone involved.

5. While we sometimes screen calls from relatives, we often thrive at the actual family get together.

Introverts tend to avoid chatting on the phone because it distracts us from our current thought or project and we really prefer to catch up in person. Small, intimate groups are the ideal social situations for us, so naturally at family gatherings introverts are at their best.

6. We might dread an invitation to a big party, but we’ll happily accept an invite to dinner with a few, close friends.

Again, since introverts prefer small gatherings, we often excel in this setting and have the ability to draw everyone who’s present in.

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7. Even though we don’t do well with chit-chat, we do have great presentation skills.

Introverts have been known to be great public speakers, whether it’s on stage to a crowd of five hundred, a corporate board meeting, or pitching to a potential investor. We play to our strengths and prepare extensively. While we might not look forward to the meet and greet afterwards, we don’t shy away from the spotlight and know how to present ourselves when it counts, and to a crowd of any size.

8. We may be reserved at the office but only because we are quietly trying to think about how the business works and see connections that spark new ideas.

Introverts have the tendency to keep to themselves at the office but that doesn’t mean they aren’t thinking of the entire organization. It’s actually quite the opposite since introverts are led by a different internal compass when it comes to careers: they try to build beyond themselves.

9. Our silent pauses in conversations mean we are taking the time to think before we speak.

This habit alone is the reason introverts have earned their reputation as great listeners. We reflect internally first before speaking, instead of thinking out loud like our extrovert counterparts. So while this may add to the perception of introverts being shy or quiet, it just means that when we do speak, our words can have more thought, and sometimes more impact, behind them.

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10. Since we crave solitude and enjoy alone time to recharge, it often means we don’t succumb to the mood of our environment.

We have a lower sensitivity to external rewards than extroverts do, which means we’re pretty comfortable with our own thoughts and maintaining our own moods. This quiet energy is also good for business – if your office is noisy and chaotic, your calming presence can radiate to others in the workplace and ultimately, be a boost to low office morale for example.

11. Just because we aren’t overly assertive, doesn’t mean we don’t have good negotiation skills.

We’ve been conditioned to think that in order to be a great negotiator, we need to be good at intimidation. But our ability to asking probing questions, listen and observe people’s reactions to suggestions makes our negotiation skills great. We tend to empathize a little better than our peers, so we can see both sides well which inevitably helps the process go smoother.

12. While we can be distracted by too much stimuli in our environment, we notice details that may escape others.

Research has shown that introverts exhibit increased brain activity when processing visual information, which gives us an edge in our eye for detail. This is also the reason that many introverts gravitate towards more detail-oriented career choices like financial clerks, video editors and writers.

As an introvert, may not feel like you have a lot of advantages in life but you really do. You are just as well-suited as your extrovert counterparts to handle what life throws at you, but you possess a few more enviable qualities that really help you ace everyday situations.

Featured photo credit: RyanMcGuire via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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