Fake It 'til You Make It!
How to go from introverted to extroverted in seconds!
Posted January 17, 2012
Fake it 'til you make it. That's what I tell the people I speak to across the country.
Body language movements and gestures boil down to their perceived value, which means the person across the room may make assumptions about you that aren't necessarily true, just because of the way you're standing or sitting. Think about it for a moment. Your arms are crossed across your chest as you're reading this. A coworker walks by and starts to think you may not be very happy and doesn't stop in to chat because he doesn't want to catch you in a bad mood. But are you mad? No, not at all. In reality, your office is slightly colder than usual and you're trying to stay a little warmer because you just can't tear yourself away from this blog post to turn the heat on.
See how the perceived value of a movement can affect someone's opinion of you? So how can we turn this perception around to our advantage? Most of us know if we are an extroverted or introverted person. Do you get your energy from being around people in social situations or do you recharge by having some alone time before or after work? Each type has its advantages and disadvantages, so don't think one is better than the other. However, extroverts can have the upper hand in social settings when meeting new people.
A study done by the University of California suggests that extroverted people convey different movements and gestures than do introverted people (Neff, Wang, Abbott, and Walker 2010). The researchers had participants rate a computer-animated woman giving restaurant suggestions as extroverted or introverted. Their results indicate that outward hand gestures (as opposed to inward gestures in which the speaker keeps the hands close and moves the hands toward herself) and an increased rate in gestures indicate the speaker to be perceived as extroverted. But the speaker was developed through animation software. She's not even a real person! This just shows that our brains perceive someone to be one way or another.
So let's apply these findings to my fake it 'til you make it mantra. For those folks out there who are more introverted, use these tips to come off as more extroverted in social situations. Hopefully, you'll feel more confident and comfortable in a big social setting where you want to stand out and not be dominated by the extroverts in the room. When you practice these techniques, no one will know the difference!
Introverts tend to stand more vertically than extroverts. When you're introducing or talking about yourself, lean slightly forward with your upper body. It shows that you are interested in the people you are talking to and want to be social.
Introverts tend to keep their hands closer to the body while talking and move their hands towards themselves. Extroverts move their hands outward and away from the body while speaking. Use open-palm gestures and try to move your hands toward the person you're speaking to in order to come off as an open and extroverted individual.
Finally, extroverts have a higher gesture rate and move their body more quickly than introverts. If you don't talk with your hands a lot, increase your hand and arm movements to mimic the gesture rate of extroverts.
Practice these techniques while talking to your friends, family and coworkers. Eventually, you'll be comfortable enough to use them in situations where you are meeting new people. Maybe you're in a job interview and don't want to come off as shy. Lean forward and move your hands toward the interviewer as you tell her about the last project you worked on. Or if you're out with your friends on a Friday night, use these same techniques to stand out a little more than you did before.
So, don't think that being introverted hinders you in social settings. Fake it 'til you make it in order to become the person everyone wants to talk to!
Janine Driver is the New York Times best-selling author of You Say More Than You Think and the CEO of the Body Language Institute. Learn more about Janine and the Body Language Institute at www.lyintamer.com and www.bodylanguageinstitute.com