“AI Facial Expression Recognition – How To Use It To Improve Negotiations”

“Your facial expressions disclose your inner emotions. Be mindful of what your face says about you.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert (click to Tweet)

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“AI Facial Expression Recognition

How To Use It To Improve Negotiations”

People don’t realize they’re always negotiating.

Some organizations use facial recognition in virtual negotiations as part of their artificial intelligence (AI) negotiation process. The addition of facial expression recognition gives those organizations an additional benefit throughout the talks. That’s to say – organizations are already receiving the benefit of having bots (short for robots) negotiate on their behalf instead of their human negotiators. Now, they’re upping their game by adding facial expression recognition to their negotiation repertoire.

Depending on your side, facial recognition will be a plus. If you’re on the opposite side, it will be a detriment. The following explores how negotiators can use AI facial expression recognition to improve the negotiation process. It also explores how one might protect themselves.

Facial Expression Recognition Value 

Most negotiators know they can gain valuable insight into their opposition’s feelings based on that person’s facial expressions. Thus, even when an opposing negotiator may indicate he’s aligned or opposed to a request, his facial expression will indicate the degree he’s committed to his statement. That becomes an added-value to the information gathering by the receiving negotiator. There are seven micro-expressions generic to everyone on the planet (See more about micro-expressions here.) Accordingly, if you applied the same stimulus to people in various parts of the world, each would display the same facial expression.

Also, facial recognition could identify head movement gestures. By doing so, It could measure the degree of alignment a negotiator has with an offer. The calculation would become based on the degrees to which a negotiator moved closer or further away from the offer presented. Algorithms would calculate when he made such gestures and obtain a more accurate reading related to a particular request. That feedback would give the receiver invaluable information about his negotiation counterpart’s thoughts.  

How AI Facial Recognition Works

How does AI detect facial expressions? It uses two facets; one is computer vision, used to identify images. In this case, the image would be a face and the components of it. The second is machine learning, another aspect of AI used to identify the emotion expressed by the face/image. 

Thousands of smiling and angry faces serve as input to become the foundation for machine learning. From that input, machine learning learns to identify emotions based on human facial expressions. Then, it labels those expressions and adds to its repertoire as it gathers more data. This training enables the machine to identify the feelings of people it hasn’t seen before eventually. For example, it can sense raised eyebrows, widened eyes, and mouth agape as an expression of surprise.  

Yolanda Royster of AI Business Partners https://aibusinesspartners.com/  said, “Many companies have created facial expression recognition software. In some cases, the software is incorporated into negotiation software to tell when a person’s emotion changes from happy to angry. This change can signal a difference in a person’s feelings about an offer.”

“When using AI to negotiate, it needs to be reliable. AI is only as reliable as the data used to train it. When deciding on a software company to use, ensure the company uses a data set with thousands to millions of diverse faces. It needs to possess the ability to identify the expression regardless of the person’s nationality. Thus, its capabilities to accurately identify a facial expression would become hampered if its data consisted of homogeneous faces.”

Facial Recognition Usage In Negotiations – The Pluses and Minuses

They’re definite pluses and minuses to using facial recognition in negotiations. Question: To whom does the benefit go, leaving the other party disadvantaged. Answer: The entity that acquires a viable AI facial recognition negotiation system will be in a strong position throughout the engagement. And that’ll leave their counterpart at a decisive disadvantage.

Entities that don’t have the resources to compete against those that do will not be overly successful. Parties in that position can improve their negotiation efforts against AI facial recognition by wearing items that distort their facial appearance. Things such as dark or thick-rimmed glasses, heavy facial hair, thick makeup, large hats with brims will serve that purpose.

The point is, the more you’re able to distort your facial appearance, the more difficult it will be to discern your facial expressions. That means the data gathered for the facial recognition process may have difficulties detecting your emotions. And that’s how you’ll be able to decrease your negotiation disadvantage.


Are we there yet? When speaking of AI facial expressions in negotiations, the answer is not entirely. But consider you’re in the not too distant future. You’re negotiating in a virtual setting against a bot that has AI facial expression recognition capabilities. Your thought is, “darn, this thing seems to be reading my mind. For every offer I make, it seems to have a counteroffer prepared. It’s outthinking me. This negotiation is not fair! I’m on the losing end of it.” And about reading your mind, you’re right. Facial recognition gains that insight based on your facial expressions.  

The point is that future is not that distant. Businesses and governments are employing AI facial recognition in various disciplines throughout the world. So, how might you improve your negotiation efforts against a force that’s mastered the odds against you? The answer lies in understanding the value of facial recognition and assessing how to increase or decrease its advantages. To do that, incorporate the thoughts presented in the preceding information. And everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating!

Listen to Greg’s podcast at https://c-suitenetwork.com/radio/shows/greg-williams-the-master-negotiator-and-body-language-expert-podcast/

After reading this article, what are you thinking? I’d like to know. Reach me at Greg@TheMasterNegotiator.com

To receive Greg’s free “Negotiation Tip of the Week” and the “Negotiation Insight,” click here https://themasternegotiator.com/greg-williams/

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