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Text comes from the book: “Introverted - the quiet revolution” (2021), published by bad project, reprinted with the kind permission of the publisher.

Here writes for you:

Linus Jonkman is a psychologist, people and culture strategist. Jonkman studied psychology and change management. He worked for a long time as a management consultant in various contexts before going into business for himself to write books and lectures about introversion in professional life. All texts by Linus Jonkman.

Body language & communication for introverts: Gestures, facial expressions, poker face

Many introverts suffer from being shy of people. In order to cover that up, you have practiced extroverted facial expressions and gestures. How does it work? And does that make sense?

The problem with the poker face

When an introvert listens with interest, it may appear that they have fallen into apathetic shock. It's not what you see, what tells you whether a person is introverted or not. Certainly there are things that are considered typical of the appearance of introverts. We can mention things like conservative clothing in earth tones or shades of gray and a preference for black. A stiff facial expression and a monotonous voice are other classic signs.

But many are colored by the zeitgeist. Many was in school rhetoric taught and taught to think about building their own brand. You may have deliberately created an image to be seen. As a result, many of the classic signs no longer work. What a person's attitude reveals is the pattern of life in general. The important question is: what do you do when you don't have to do anything? Behind this question lies the answer: A true introvert has a lot of quality time with himself.

Life as a theater personality

I have a good friend named Manfred who creates contexts in which he is the focus. He considers himself introverted, but that's not something anyone would believe. He calls it his theater personality. If necessary, he pulls out a no-nonsense party goer. With a firm voice and a proud demeanor, he takes the stage and seems to speak straight from the heart. But there is always a cheat sheet. He always makes sure that he gets a lonely moment before the time comes. He plays a part, brilliant.

This is something that I have become aware of since the topic was discussed in the media. Many of those who we consider extroverts are not really extroverts at all. They are people who have fled social contexts since childhood in order to find peace. People who may not have understood their introversion but wondered if something was wrong with them.

Spontaneity and stress - a fatal combination

Spontaneity and stress are a fatal combination for me. One evening I happened to say to our CEO, "Only a man knows what a man likes." I still find it difficult to explain why I said that. Back then I felt compelled to say something spontaneous, funny and unforgettable. In the end, I can say that at least I managed to say something that was not forgotten.

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It calms my conscience that I am not alone when I say the stupidest things under stress. Nobody in the universe is dumber than a stressed out introvert. Studies show that introverts are vulnerable in the thought process. Stress causes our thoughts to get mixed up. The strength we normally have in terms of logic, reflection and analysis disappears. Extroverts, on the other hand, are spurred on by stress and pressure. They work faster and more precisely when they are under pressure. Some extroverts claim that the best things they've done in their life came about in the heat of the moment. Stress is the Achilles' heel of introverts. We play best when the opponent isn't there.

With the charisma of a frozen fish fillet

For example, one evening when I won an award: If I had been forewarned that I would receive the award, I would have had a better spontaneous speech. The strength of introversion lies in the anticipation, reflection and the opportunity to prepare. How much time do I have to think about it? is always my first question when I am faced with a task. For introverts, getting some distance from the subject is a necessity.

One of the pitfalls for introverts is what happens when the subject is really interesting to us. If we're really interested, we get the same charisma as a frozen fish fillet. The more dead the look and the stiffer the face, the more we listen. Emptiness on the outside means empathy on the inside. this is in contrast to the extroverts who work the other way around. The livelier their facial expressions, the more interested they are. My wife insists that I say something monosyllabic sometimes, or at least blink when she speaks. She wants this so that the others around us don't think that she is talking to herself.

Introvert vs. Extrovert: Like cat and dog

As a lecturer, this has confused me several times. Even though I'm an introvert myself, I forget what a poker face means. I don't think most introverts are aware of that either. Sometimes I stood there and felt that I wasn't getting anything back from the audience. The rows of seats were full of absent or, in my opinion, annoyed faces. But in retrospect, they got in touch and raved about how much they were spellbound by my lecture. The signal of interest in introverts is simply different than in extroverts.

Similar communication problems exist between cats and dogs in the animal kingdom. When a dog wags its tail, it is happy. When a cat wags its tail, it wants to kill you. This is one of the reasons cats and dogs don't always get along so well. I myself work to try to be more active when I am the listening party. When I'm really listening, my gaze often tends to drift away. I find it easier to focus on what is being said when I'm not getting visual input from the narrator at the same time.

Approaches to solutions against uncommunicative body language

Sometimes it helps to close your eyes while listening. That's because a lot of pictures are being drawn in my head while I'm listening. Looking at two screens at the same time is confusing. If this is misinterpreted as disinterest, I understand. I now try to signal interest by leaning forward, nodding approvingly, and laughing when it's funny. Sometimes problems arise when I am kidnapped by daydreams. Then I half-listen and laugh at the wrong time. Some people are intense when they communicate. They speak quickly and loudly. They take advantage of every quiet second and look you intently in the eye as they speak. This is a typical extroverted trait.

I know also introverts who plunge into conversations like this. The effect it has on me and other introverts is that we turn away from them about 45 degrees, as if trying to protect ourselves from a storm of words. My wife used to talk about the iPhone bubble. That's what she calls my self-defense maneuver at these moments. When someone gets too intense, I lower my gaze and check my phone. This way I get a few seconds with no stimuli to catch my breath. Our traditional view of speakers and audience is wrong. We think we want to listen to an extroverted speaker and we think we want an introverted audience. In reality, it is often the other way around. You want an extroverted audience because they are engaging, interested, and inspired in ways that enliven the space. An introverted speaker makes sure that he gets to the point in time instead of going on a spontaneous word excursion. An introverted audience is cautious and sometimes openly criticizes smaller, factual ones Error: "According to Wikipedia, avocados were not allowed to be imported into New Zealand in 1978, but only in 1979."

A fake smile helps

People who know me say that giving lectures makes me stiff. I tried to smile more, but I realized that my expressionlessness comes from a strong inner focus: the more I smile, the less I know what to say. For some reason, as soon as I smile, I switch off. My poker face is an ingrained part of how I and many introverts function.

I would say your poker face is a Advantage the introversion. I remember lectures when I was nervous. My voice was shaky and I felt the blush throb on my face. The sweat made my face shine and my lips were sticky. In retrospect, I was told that I exuded calm and confidence, even though I was really very nervous. In a lecture context, it is comforting to know that your nervousness is not noticeable.

One strong reason introverts thrive in a lecturing role is because it gives us the opportunity to talk about something in private. In everyday conversations, we are used to extroverts snatching our word from us as soon as we don't speak quickly enough. As soon as you're on stage, you have the chance to convey content exactly the way you want it to. You will also have the chance to deliver them in one unbroken line. In many ways, the speaking role is ideal for the introvert if he can overcome his stage fright.

Why seeking attention is not an advantage

Like in this situation: We sat with our chairs in a circle. The presenter was obviously an extrovert. No matter how I turned, I had to meet someone's lingering gaze. So a handful of us sat and studied our shoes. The extroverts looked ahead and smiled at the faces opposite. I noticed them right away. The look screamed: "Look at me!" Leopard tights, bright red glasses frames and a colorful feather boa attracted attention. We started with the mandatory get up and tell me who you are exercise. Or, as introverts see it: bragging about yourself as much as possible in a short amount of time.

One person stands up in turn. With each person, the pressure on the next speaker increases a little. With every leap the word makes, it becomes a little more important, a little less funny, a lot more serious, and come across as someone who is both successful and urbane. I understand the purpose. The lady in the noisy outfit couldn't sit still. She was impatient to be told who she was. The acrylic nails with stars on them pounded impatiently against the armrests of the chair. She didn't hear a word of what the others were saying to her. Now it was her turn. She took a step in the middle of the ring and started big gestures to tell about their passion in life: themselves. “The first thing you will notice about me is that I am need a lot of space in a room. I like to talk a lot and luckily I have the gift of language. "

Speech is silvery, silence is brilliant

Then she didn't stop. At a million words per minute, she started a fifteen-minute monologue. I was so amazed at her self-love that my eyebrows sore. That was pure narcissism. She was the closest thing to a cartoon of concentrated extroversion. And silence would really have been more brilliant in this situation.

Speaking is not a matter of course for anyone. Many extroverts, as this lady put it, have the gift of speech. But much less do they have the gift gut to speak. Getting up with ease and speaking spontaneously is not the same as doing well. The biggest challenge for an introverted speaker is to trust yourself and get started.

An icebreaker often helps: when I'm in Berlin, for example, I usually start by apologizing for my speech impediment, the Swabian dialect. When the audience laughs, the ice is broken and my nervousness is blown away. The way I see it, nervousness is a constant companion for an introvert in these contexts. Stage fright is something to learn to deal with. It has to do with the hormones. It doesn't take much to stress us introverts. Even after speaking hundreds of times, I can still feel uncomfortable in this situation. I'm a good speaker today, no trotz my introversion, rather wegen my introversion.

From introvert to good speaker - how does it work?

Although I've given many lectures, I always have butterflies in my stomach before a performance. For an extrovert, the challenge is rather not to kill the audience with words. An overly extroverted speaker tends to use too many words and too few art pauses. It took a week of torture at the Dale Carnegie Institute speech school before my journey began. There were long days filled with exercises in which I had to give impromptu lectures on all kinds of topics. My voice and hand were shaky during every presentation. In the evening I came home drenched in sweat and stared straight ahead with glassy eyes.

The training left me mentally exhausted. But I kept going anyway because I felt like it was something I could get good at. After this week I was back on my feet and that's a good thing. I am absolutely convinced that all people can teach. It's just a matter of practice and self-criticism. My key is to really focus on the first sentence that I conjure up. I try carefully to choose a spontaneous one-liner or a thought-provoking quote. Then I use it as an icebreaker for the audience.

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