The Nod

27.04.2016 |

Episode #7 of the course The secrets of body language by Vanessa Van Edwards


A big part of body language is nonverbal encouragement and feedback. As humans, we like to know that other people appreciate what we are trying to communicate. One of the easiest ways to provide this feedback and connect and engage purposefully is with a nod.

Now this isn’t just any nod. This is the triple nod.

Studies have shown that people will speak three to four times longer if you do three slow nods in a row when they have finished speaking. So, when someone finishes their statement, look them in the eye and nod three times, as if to say, “Keep going.” They will often continue, and you end up having a much deeper conversation.

It’s important to keep in mind that nodding falls on a spectrum:

7.1 The secrets of body language

On the high end is the bobblehead nod. This will make you come across as impatient or overly agreeable.

On the low end is stiff or no head movement. This will make you come across as bored or disinterested.

Right in the middle is the sweet spot—the slow and purposeful triple nod.

You can even combine the triple nod with the head tilt. A head tilt can be used to show empathy and engagement. Here’s why it works:

If I were to ask you, “Did you hear that?” you would tilt one ear up to the sky to focus your hearing. When we head tilt while listening, it’s like we’re nonverbally telling the other person, “I am listening to you, I hear you.”

Ready for a ninja tip?

Use the head tilt to soften the blow. If you have to deliver bad news, let someone go, or tell your son that the family gerbil went to gerbil heaven, saying it with a head tilt will help you come across as more understanding and empathetic.

Challenge: Try out the triple nod + head tilt in your next conversation.


P.S. Need a little boost getting those conversational juices flowing? Check out my list of killer conversation starters!


Recommended book

“What Every BODY is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent’s Guide to Speed-Reading People” by Joe Navarro


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