“The value of reading body language lies in the ability to uncover real emotions and thoughts, versus those that one would wish to have appear real.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert
“6 New Ways To Quickly Win Negotiations
By Reading Body Language Better”
People don’t realize they’re always negotiating.
Reading body language in negotiations is like an intricate dance. But in negotiations, unlike in a dance, either negotiator will lead during the talks. A subtle body language cue will often mark when one takes the lead from the other.
To enhance your ability to read body language better, I offer the following six strategies to improve your skills. Once you acquire them, you will notice other’s slight gestures. That will give you greater insight into their thinking, allowing you an advantage when interacting with them in negotiations and life.
Body Language Strategy 1: Mirroring body language
In negotiation, mirroring occurs when one negotiator imitates the other party’s body language. Negotiators do so to build rapport and trust. The premise is that by mirroring someone, you appear like them. And people tend to like people like themselves.
For example, if the other party sits up straight, you can sit up straight. If they begin speaking at a particular pace, you can talk at the same speed. The same is true for hand gestures. You can make slow gestures with your hands if they gesture slowly with theirs.
By using mirroring, you can build rapport and establish trust faster, which can help you win negotiations quicker. Just be mindful of not having your actions appear as mockery. That could break rapport and trust.
Body Language Strategy 2: Watch signs of discomfort
When people display signs of discomfort, it is a sign of distress. When they show the gesture, it will stem from a thought they had at that moment, which may arise from something earlier in the negotiation.
The motion could signal their dislike of your offer, fear of not getting what they want, or thinking you have caught them in something they do not wish to disclose. The point is to raise awareness when it occurs.
Common signs of discomfort can be fidgeting, leaning away, crossing arms, shifting pace of speech, misquoting what was said, etc. Again, be aware of when such signs are displayed. While they may be genuine, your counterpart may use them as a rouse to confuse you.
To note the accuracy of a negotiator’s gestures, observe how they use them before the start of the negotiation. Then, you will have something to compare against during your negotiation session.
Body Language Strategy 3: Observe eye contact and facial expressions
Eye contact has meaning when it occurs and when it does not occur. And when a negotiator’s eyes widen, they express interest in the discussion or what has happened. When someone’s eyes narrow, they are pin-pointedly focused. And that gesture can indicate displeasure or excitement with the negotiation’s occurrence. Observe other facial expressions to assess their meaning.
Facial expressions can uncover real and hidden emotions in negotiations. That is why accurately interpreting them and other body language gestures will give you a massive advantage during your interactions with others.
To gather more insights about reading body language, go here.
Body Language Strategy 4: Note receptive body language
Certain gestures can indicate a receptiveness to offers. They state your opposite is open-minded and approachable. Because such displays are moments signaling to move forward, you should note when they occur. You may have your most favorable opportunities during those times.
A few gestures that indicate receptiveness are:
1. Open hands
2. Genuine smiles
3. Palms up
4. Uncrossed arms, legs, feet
5. Leaning forward
6. Head up
7. Wide eyes
When sensing someone displaying the above signs, note how many co-occur. If a cluster of those actions happens during a particular time, that heightens the likelihood that the person is in a receptive state of mind.
Body Language Strategy 5: Display of dejection
Points may occur in a negotiation when the other negotiator experiences dejection. That may stem from a dislike of their position. It could lead to adverse effects, such as that person striking back in unforeseen ways to even the playing field. It could also show itself in other forms of irrationality.
Note signs of:
1. Droopy head, shoulders, eyes
2. Lack of energy
3. Slow speech
4. Arms/hands held close to body
5. Withdrawn from engagement
7. Overall low spirits
Do not dismiss these displays as happenstance, something not to concern yourself with. They are invaluable signals that will influence your talks.
Body Language Strategy 6: Detecting deception
Negotiators use forms of deception throughout negotiations. They may do it by not disclosing the whole truth, using misdirection to prevent disclosing their position, and in numerous other ways. And some outright lie to deceive you.
If you sense someone may be attempting to deceive you, observe:
1. Their hands covering their mouth when they speak
2. Them rubbing their neck, arms, legs
3. Avoiding or overly maintaining eye contact (some people will stare
when attempting to deceive you because they believe avoiding eye
contact signals deception, and they do not want you to think they are
4. Smiling inappropriately without a reason
5. Becoming forceful with gestures – fist banging, finger pointing, arms
crossed while sneering
When you witness any of those gestures, observe their point of origin and assess their intent. The opposition may be attempting to derail your effort to further their deception.
Reading body language helps you win more negotiations. When you spot facial expressions, witness eye contact, analyze body posture, perceive speaking speed, scrutinize hand gestures, and use mirroring, you will gain valuable insights into the thoughts, emotions, and intentions of others. And everything will be right with the world.
Remember, you’re always negotiating!
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After reading this article, what are you thinking? I’d like to know. Reach me at Greg@TheMasterNegotiator.com
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