“Astonishing Advice About The 7 Body Language Micro-Expression Signs That Announce Negotiation Danger” – Negotiation Tip of the Week

“Danger is emboldened when knowledge is silenced.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert (click to Tweet)

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“Astonishing Advice About The 7 Body Language Micro-Expression Signs That Announce Negotiation Danger”

People don’t realize they’re always negotiating.

Danger lurked in the negotiation. But nobody knew its signs.

Did you see that, asked the first negotiator? See what asked the second negotiator? The body language signs displayed throughout the negotiation by the opposing negotiators indicated danger. Their gestures became more hostile as the talks progressed, replied the first negotiator. She continued by saying, we should have paid more attention to their body language signs. Had we done so, we might have avoided the negotiation impasse.

When was the last time you were stuck in a negotiation and wondered how you missed the body language signs indicating pending danger? Accurately reading body language can help you avoid such perils. Plus, it gives you an advantage during negotiations.

There are seven body language signals you can use to assist in helping you avoid tumultuous outcomes. The following body language gestures are known as micro-expressions. They encapsulate the displayer’s emotional state of mind at that moment in time. And micro-expressions last for less than a second. Thus, the person’s brain does not control the display before he makes it.

What follows is advice about how to recognize the body language signs that announce danger in a negotiation. Once you become armed with this information and implement its insights, you should be better prepared to alter the flow of a negotiation headed for danger.

Seven Micro-Expressions That Signal Danger

Micro-expressions give great insight into someone’s inner thoughts, thoughts that someone may not speak aloud. And since the display of a micro-expression lasts less than one second, it occurs before the brain filters the shown emotion. That means what you see is the honest thought that person has about what you are discussing.

The seven micro-expressions that may indicate pending danger are:


Fear is a sign signaling what a negotiator may be afraid of when considering not reaching his goals. In that state of mind, he may become irrational, which may lead to dangerous interactions.

When genuine fear is displayed, the displayer has his lips slightly stretched, eyebrows are raised and pulled together, and he lifts his upper eyelids.


Anytime you witness anger heighten your awareness. In particular, note what occurred that caused the expression. If the appearance is authentic, it’s an alarming signal that danger is imminent. It would behoove you to assess how close it is.  

When genuine anger is displayed, one’s eyes will appear wider with a piercing or glaring appearance, their eyebrows will be down and drawn together, and they’ll be a narrowing of the lips.


The genuine display of disgust is another micro-expression to observe in your negotiation. It can give insight into the degree that the other negotiator is considering offers honestly. And while this display does not indicate immediate danger, it may signal the light that leads to it.

Disgust is shown by someone through the wrinkling of their nose, along with their upper lip raised. Another way to observe this gesture is to think of someone appearing as though they smelled something unpleasing.


The display of surprise can be a soft sign of danger. The reason being, a surprise display can signal pleasantness. So, to assess if it signals danger, look for other signs combined with it to know the direction of the mind in which one is thinking. A person displays genuine surprise through raised eyebrows, eyes widened, and mouth agape.


A display of contempt may signify that the other negotiator despises something you have said or done. If so, it may be the beginning of a slow burn to danger. The micro-expression body language sign displayed as contempt occurs with one corner of someone’s lip turned upward. 


Sadness is a potential sign of danger. And the degree there may be danger depends on the source of the state. For example, if the negotiation is not going well for your opponent and she blames you, that could lead her to engage in dangerous actions during the negotiation.

A negotiator displays sadness through drooping eyelids with downturned lips. A change in one’s voice’s inflection and tonality may accompany the gesture.


If you display too much happiness during the negotiation, it could lead to danger. Say what! Too much of a happiness display may lead the opposition to think you are bettering him. So be mindful of tempering your exuberance. Happiness is shown in the form through wide eyes, a smile, raised cheeks, and a degree of exhibited gaiety.


So, now that you are aware of the micro-expression danger signs to observe when you are negotiating, what should you do when you sense one or several?

1. Note the moment the other negotiator made the display.

2. Assess if what you sensed is genuine or feigned. Some negotiators will fake an expression to manipulate your thoughts.

3. Consider whether to say something at that moment or allow time to gather more insight from other micro-expressions.

4. If danger is imminent and it is close, pause the negotiation and address it. Do not continue. To do so at that point will only deepen the dismay.

5. In addressing the situation, attempt to rewind the negotiation to the point before danger began and seek a detour around it.  


There will always be the potential for danger in any negotiation. But, if you are aware of the expressions that indicate negotiation danger, along with the micro-expressions mentioned, you will be in a better position to thwart attempts from destroying your negotiation. That will allow you to boost your efforts, which will increase your negotiation outcomes. 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/blog

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