It's called the "Kindly Brontosaurus," and it's nothing short of magic.
Just in time for Thanksgiving traveling, Slate has reprinted features editor Jessica Winter's life-changing tip from 2013 on how to get what you want (i.e. the last seat on that packed flight).
Winter believes that, after successfully using it multiple times, the posture has "hypnotic, even occult powers."
One time, right before Christmas, she kindly gave up her seat on an oversold JFK-to-Heathrow flight for cash and frequent flier miles. She had second thoughts, though, and managed to convince a gate agent to put her back on the flight — even after the gate had closed. How? Well, duh: the Kindly Brontosaurus.
Here's what it should look like, according to Winter:
You must stand quietly and lean forward slightly, hands loosely clasped in a faintly prayerful arrangement. You will be in the gate agent’s peripheral vision — close enough that he can’t escape your presence, not so close that you’re crowding him — but you must keep your eyes fixed placidly on the agent’s face at all times. Assemble your features in an understanding, even beatific expression. Do not speak unless asked a question. Whenever the gate agent says anything, whether to you or other would-be passengers, you must nod empathically.
This technique can work on other people beyond gate agents, of course. The Kindly Brontosaurus got her into a concert without a ticket, allowed her access to a closed area of a museum, ushered her to the front of a 1,000-person line for a celebrity reading, and helped her persuade a former boss to completely change course on a project.
But why does it work? Winter asked Dr. Lillian Glass, resident body language expert on Dancing With the Stars and Millionaire Matchmaker:
“The body language of the Kindly Brontosaurus is respectful and nonthreatening,” she says. “There’s a humility, so you allow the other person to feel empowered. Since you’ve made them feel like king of the jungle, they’re more receptive to you.” Glass adds that the Kindly Brontosaurus can apply not just in customer service contexts but with parents, spouses, children, and “toxic employees.”
This gives a whole new meaning to "lean in," but I'm sure Sheryl Sandberg would approve of it. So, do it — lean in — with a genial, herbivore-like facial expression, and you'll have the entire world in your gently clasped hands. Your grandma is going to be so thrilled you're finally on time for Thanksgiving dinner.
Photo Credit: iStock