Let me begin by revealing one mistake I myself made when I was trying to discover how to stop being shy. I used to make a big mistake when it came to judging myself. Perhaps it’s a mistake you share. The mistake I made was that I used to think some people—popular, charismatic people, to be precise—instinctively knew what to say, and that I did not.
I used to believe absolutely in the “gift of the gab;” a gift I did not (in younger years) have. This killed my attempts to discover how to overcome shyness. But then it dawned on me. What if those people who held a crowd and who knew how to be entertaining and good at chatting; what if they didn’t know what to say, but rather we’re just very quick at determining the reaction they were getting, such that if they said the wrong thing, they’d know immediately and change what they were saying, where if they said the right thing, they’d know and could stick to it? This question is what led me to find the true way how to stop being shy.
Realising that it was possible to say what I wanted and to adapt based on the reception I was getting, it became possible to speak with the utmost ease and freedom, safe in the knowledge that if I said something wrong, I’d know it before it became an issue. I’m sure you can imagine how beneficial this was to my effort to overcome shyness.
Because I no longer needed to worry so much about what I said, I felt significantly more comfortable speaking. And once you’ve read through the following body language tips you’ll share my confidence and will be able to overcome shyness in no time.
How to stop being shy by understanding your audience
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As someone who lived with crippling shyness in my younger years, I’d like to give a little slice of advice before getting to the hard facts of how to stop being shy. When you read through these body language gestures, consider how you can use these as a “safety net.” By learning these body language gestures and their meanings, you’ll be able to know: when someone is offended; when someone is bored; when someone else wants to speak; when someone likes what you say; when someone agrees and disagrees with you. You’ll know these things even before the other person says anything. This means you’ll have a solid way of controlling conversation, one that will help you to feel confident chatting to people and will help overcome shyness and depression. To me, this is the absolutely best answer to how to stop being shy. So, let’s get to the actual body language facts.
Way how to stop being shy by reading body language
Body Language for When Someone is Bored or Impatient
When someone begins to feel bored they will rest their head on their hand. The more support they give to their head, the more bored they are. In other words, if they’re just propping their head up subtly with a finger, they’re not too bored, but if they’re resting they’re whole head on their hand then you’re sending them to sleep.
When someone is impatient, they will begin tapping something, which might be their finger, foot, a pen or anything else. The faster the tapping, the more impatient they are feeling.
Why this helps with how to stop being shy: You now know how to tell is your audience is bored or impatient. and importantly, you know when they are NOT bored or impatient, which means that you can be sure they like you talking to them.
If you ever do notice them showing boredom signs, you can simply change subject or allow the other person to speak or do something else to change the flow of the conversation and inject new life into it.
How to stop being shy by reading the Body language of Evaluation
When someone is making a decision or evaluating what you are saying they will make a similar gesture to the head-support gesture of boredom (described above), with two important differences. When evaluating, the listener will have a closed fist with a finger pointing upwards.
The hand or finger on the chin indicates evaluation. The lighter the touch the more interested they are. The more they are supporting the head with the hand, the more bored they are. The person may also pull the skin of their eye back if they are having negative thoughts.
Preparing to Make a Decision
When someone is making a decision, the gesture described above for evaluating will change slightly to include chin stroking. Chin stroking indicates the person is making a decision.
Why this helps with how to stop being shy: Knowing when someone is evaluating enables you to either a) give them time to think or b) Say something different to them before they make a decision that will be hard to undo.
How to stop being shy by Reading Body Language for “Yes” and “No”
When you notice a person holding their chin as described above, they are preparing to make a decision. At these times it can be helpful to know whether they’re going to give you a yes or a no before they actually say it (because once somebody actually says something it’s pretty much set in stone).
When someone is going to say yes, they will show an open body (open arms with nothing covering the chest) and will likely lean forwards. But when someone is going to say no, they’ll usually cover their chest defensively (most likely by crossing their arms) and will lean backwards.
By combining these basic body language gestures with some of the other gestures we’ve covered in previous articles, you can gain a great insight into what your audience is thinking and feeling. This can greatly help you to feel more confident when talking.
Finally, Remember to pay good attention to the body language of other people. They may well be feeling every bit as nervous as you are but simply expressing it in a different way. Be sure to read Submissive Body Language and Weak to Strong Body Language so you’ll know whether the person you want to speak to is nervous themselves as well as getting some good ideas for how to show confidence even if you don’t feel it yet. Reading body language in these ways is how to stop being shy. Good luck!