9 little known body language signs that signal someone is really smart

There’s a vast gap between appearing smart and truly being intelligent.

Often, it’s not about what you say, but how you say it. Or rather, how your body says it for you.

You see, smart people have certain body language cues that set them apart. It’s not about grand gestures, but subtle signs that hint towards their intelligence.

In this article, I’ll let you in on nine little-known body language signs that signal someone is really smart. 

Let’s get started. 

1) Confident posture

We all have a perception of what a smart person looks like. And often, it’s not about the glasses or the book in their hand, but rather how they carry themselves.

The first little-known body language sign of a smart person is their posture.

Smart people often have a confident, upright posture. This doesn’t mean they’re rigid or inflexible, but rather that they carry themselves with an air of self-assuredness.

It’s not about puffing up your chest or holding your head high in arrogance, but rather maintaining an open, approachable posture that radiates confidence.

This is because smart people are usually aware of their strengths and abilities and are comfortable in their own skin. This confidence manifests itself in the way they carry themselves.

When you’re trying to gauge someone’s intelligence, take a look at their posture. It might just give you a hint about what’s going on inside their head.

2) Effective eye contact

Here’s a personal story to illustrate the next sign – effective eye contact.

I was at a conference about a year ago, and I met this individual who had a knack for making everyone feel heard and understood. It wasn’t until later that I realized what made our interaction so impactful – it was his knack for maintaining effective eye contact.

Smart people understand the power of eye contact. It’s not an unblinking, intense stare but a calm and steady gaze that shows they are fully engaged in the conversation.

This individual at the conference, let’s call him John, never interrupted or seemed distracted when we were talking. He maintained a consistent level of eye contact that demonstrated his interest in what I was saying.

In hindsight, his ability to maintain effective eye contact made our conversation more meaningful, and it left a lasting impression on me.

When you’re assessing someone’s intelligence, notice their eye contact. It might reveal more about their smartness than you think.

3) Mirroring behaviors

Have you ever noticed how you tend to adjust your body language to match the person you’re conversing with? This subconscious act, known as ‘mirroring’, is a powerful tool in non-verbal communication.

Interestingly, mirroring is often a sign of higher cognitive processing. Smart people are more likely to engage in this behavior as it aids in building rapport and understanding the other person’s perspective.

This subtle adjustment of body language helps smart people to connect with others on a deeper level, establishing trust and fostering better communication.

When you’re in a conversation, pay attention to mirroring behaviors. It’s not just about empathy; it could be signaling higher intelligence.

4) Controlled gestures

Another key body language sign of a smart person is controlled gestures.

Smart people are often aware of how their movements and gestures can impact the message they’re trying to convey. They tend to use their hands to emphasize points, but in a measured, controlled manner that complements their words rather than distracting from them.

Their gestures are usually deliberate and meaningful, rather than being fidgety or over-exaggerated. This reflects their ability to focus and think before they act, traits often associated with intelligence.

5) Active listening cues

Listening, truly listening, is an art that not everyone has mastered. But it’s an art that smart people often excel at.

Active listening cues are a definite sign of intelligence. These can include nodding in agreement, making small verbal affirmations like ‘uh-huh’ and ‘I see’, and summarizing or reframing the speaker’s points to show understanding.

Smart people tend to do these things more because they understand the importance of truly grasping what the other person is saying before responding.

So, next time you’re in conversation, pay attention to active listening cues. They might just indicate a higher level of intelligence.

6) Authentic smiles

The genuineness of a smile can often be a telling sign of intelligence.

Smart people are usually more in tune with their emotions and the emotions of those around them. This emotional intelligence often translates into more authentic expressions, including smiles.

An authentic smile, one that reaches the eyes and transforms the whole face, is not just a sign of happiness or friendliness. It’s also a reflection of a person’s ability to engage on a deeper emotional level.

It can be easy to fake a smile, but the eyes never lie. When someone smiles with their whole face, it’s genuine, and there’s something profoundly intelligent about being able to express emotions in such an authentic way.

7) Minimal interruptions

A few years back, in the middle of a heated debate, I remember feeling anxious, waiting for my turn to speak, all the while formulating my response. But then something shifted. I realized that in preparing my counter-argument, I was missing out on truly understanding the other person’s viewpoint.

That’s when I learned the value of minimal interruptions, a trait often seen in intelligent people.

Smart individuals understand that interruptions can break the flow of thought and hinder effective communication. They tend to listen more, allowing the other person to complete their thoughts before responding, promoting a more profound and meaningful exchange of ideas.

If you notice someone allowing others to finish their points without interrupting, they might be showcasing one of the subtle signs of intelligence.

8) Regular eye movement

Believe it or not, the way our eyes move can signal our intelligence.

Smart people often have regular eye movement as they are constantly observing and processing information around them. This doesn’t mean they’re darting their eyes around frantically, but rather they’re subtly scanning their surroundings, absorbing details that others might miss.

This trait indicates an active mind that’s always alert and engaged with the world, a common characteristic of intelligent individuals.

When you’re trying to gauge someone’s intelligence, take a moment to observe their eye movement. It might be revealing more than you think.

9) Calm demeanor

The ultimate body language sign of a smart person often lies in their calm demeanor.

Intelligent individuals tend to exhibit a sense of tranquility and composure, especially in challenging situations. They understand that panic or agitation rarely solves problems, but clear thinking does.

This calm demeanor is often the result of an ability to think logically and critically, to stay focused when others might lose their cool.

Sometimes it’s not about how much someone says or does, but the quiet calm they maintain amidst the chaos.

Final thoughts: It’s all about perception

The world of body language is truly fascinating. It offers a peek into the human mind, revealing insights that words often fail to express.

Understanding these subtle cues not only helps us gauge intelligence but also allows us to connect better with the people around us.

Remember, these nine signs are not definitive proof of someone’s intelligence. They are merely indicators, signals that suggest a person might be smart.

Intelligence is a multifaceted trait, and it cannot be measured solely by one’s body language. But being aware of these signs can certainly enrich our understanding and perception of it.

So next time you find yourself in a conversation, take a moment. Observe the body language. You might just discover a new layer of understanding about the person standing before you.

And who knows? Maybe you’ll even recognize some of these signs in yourself. Because after all, recognizing intelligence starts with understanding ourselves.

Did you like my article? Like me on Facebook to see more articles like this in your feed.

Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

If a man is bored in a relationship, he’ll usually display these 10 specific behaviors

People who grew up with domineering siblings usually develop these 8 qualities later in life