Ferris Bueller made me realize I was a bore. So, I found three easy ways to be more interesting without having to say a word.
Do you remember the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off?
If you don’t, here’s a quick refresher course:
Even if you haven’t seen the movie, you’ve probably heard the famous line “Bueller…Bueller…Bueller,” that goes on and on.
Years ago when I saw that scene, I laughed, but, secretly on the inside, I was cringing. The truth is I used to have the same issues. I had poor body language, a monotone voice, and couldn’t for the life of me make solid eye contact.
When I spoke, I would see people’s eyes glazing over and could tell that I wasn’t engaging with them. They’d check their watches, cut conversations short, and leave me standing alone.
I thought I was saying interesting things, but still people would ignore my presence. And whenever I looked for advice on ways to improve this, I always came up with the same silly results.
I’d find things like: “Just stop caring about what people think” or “Persuasive pickup lines for shy guys” or outright lists of ways to manipulate people. That stuff wasn’t helpful, and I didn’t want any of that. So I had to find another way.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve made massive improvements in those areas. I managed to cultivate a network of hundreds of people, build my confidence and deepen my relationships, and I was able to do this, in part, by analyzing, studying, and implementing some ultra-powerful body language techniques.
I took years to realize this, but I finally learned that it doesn’t matter if you’re saying the most interesting things in the world. People will tune you out, if you don’t have an engaging tone, make good eye contact, and have great posture.
So what are a few body language best practices you can apply today to begin reaping the rewards of this hidden form of communication?
Here are 3 simple tips I found to dramatically impact my confidence and the way others responded to me:
The Personalized Smile
Everybody likes being around positive, happy people. And a smile is the universal symbol of happiness. What a smile instantly communicates is
“Hey, I’m willing to open myself up to you AND I’m genuinely happy about doing so.”
Without a smile on your face, you look closed off and like you don’t want to speak to new people. I was guilty of doing this for many years, and for many guys out there, it can be tough to remember to smile. Even though we’re genuinely happy on the inside and have a great outlook on life, smiling a lot doesn’t always come naturally for men.
But there’s a little known yet POWERFUL technique that accelerates the positive effects of smiling. And you don’t have to worry about smiling all the time with this tip.
Here it is: What you want to do is have a smile that responds to people looking your way or after making eye contact with them. For example, when you see someone new or a person you’d like to talk to, take a second to pause, and, then with all the warmth you can muster, let a smile wash over your entire face.
Slowly let it spread from ear to ear. Then, hold that big, warm smile for a moment and return to your natural facial state.
Why is this so powerful?
You’re adding a personal touch to your smile. It’s not something you just give out to anyone or do all the time.
A smile is something you give to people you’re genuinely happy to meet and want to open up to. That makes us more interesting, open, and engaging.
(Almost) Constant Contact.
Now, I’d like you to imagine someone who’s in a rush, someone who doesn’t really want to speak you, or someone who is nervous in a conversation. In particular, what is this person doing with their eyes and how does that make you feel?
You probably said they’re shifty, constantly looking at their watch, or breaking eye contact to look down, etc. That’s exactly what I used to do, and it made people feel on edge, worried, and like I wasn’t interested in them. That’ not how I felt, but that’s what I was communicating.
You’ve probably heard the expression: “Your eyes are the window to your soul.”
While that’s not always true, what you choose to do with your eyes in conversations says a lot about your emotional state and how you feel about the person you’re talking to. By maintaining eye contact with someone, you convey confidence, interest, and respect for what they have to say.
Now, you don’t want to just lock eyes with someone and never look away. That’s intimidating and weird (I know from trying it first hand). You do want your eyes to sort of stick to the other person for most of the conversation.
But, let’s face it: maintaining eye contact can feel weird and intimidating. One of the best techniques for eliminating these feeling is to actually make NO eye contact at all.
Yep, you read that right. What you can do is look slightly above the other person’s eyes (almost where their eyebrows are), let your eyes rest there, above just one of their eyes, and then switch your gaze to the other eye (again slightly above) when they finish a few sentences. That way you keep rapport. Best of all you communicate the interest you feel inside, without being intimidated by making constant eye contact with the person.
Head in the clouds.
Now, imagine an unenergetic-looking person. In particular, what is this person doing with their body?
I’ll tell you what I used to do: slouch forward, hold my head down, and move slowly. That’s the perfect example of what NOT to do. Yet, many of us fall victim to these positions. We’re tired from work, we’ve been studying for tests, or maybe we have an endless list of chores to do around the house that’s causing us stress. All of these things drain us and stop us from communicating the energy we truly feel.
Improving this starts with an awareness that it’s going on. But to get into specific tactics for better posture and energy, you can lift your head up high, pull your shoulders back, and feel yourself open up. Stretch yourself out, like you’re gearing up for a test of excellent posture.
Leil Lowndes, in her book How To Talk To Anyone, talks about one way you can trigger yourself to remember to do this. She says any time you walk through a doorway, imagine yourself being pulled by a string from the top of your head, lifting you up every time you enter a room. It’s a great way to look upbeat, open and energetic for any room you enter.
You’re already feeling these emotions on the inside so why not do your best to communicate that to the outside world. Posture signals confidence and power; and people will know you’re a person they should be speaking to.
A great way to practice these techniques is to focus on them, one-by-one at first. Later, you can combine them all for much more effective communication.
You have a message inside of you that’s dying to get out. But sometimes, the body language we convey stops us from getting our thoughts and ideas across.
If you practice these techniques, you’ll ensure the best version of yourself shines through and that you’re communicating your exact thoughts and feelings.
Go out and try some of these tips today, and report back with your experiences in the comments. We love to hear about your results and read every one of them!