“Body Language 3 Secret Myths To Increase Your Influence” – Negotiation Tip of the Week

“Body language can be the dispeller of myths that increases your influence.”  -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert (Click to Tweet)

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“Body Language 3 Secret Myths

To Increase Your Influence” 

People don’t realize they’re always negotiating.

How do you determine your degree of influence based on the body language gestures you detect when talking with someone? And what body language signs in particular of theirs do you observe to make your assessment?

How about your body language? Do you observe your emotional state and the signals you emit when interacting with others? Your emotional state influences your gestures, which in turn affect your emotions. And that shapes the degrees of power you have with others.

What follows are three body language myths you can use to reshape your paradigm. And once you are aware of them, you will have a greater understanding surrounding their myth. That will lead you to become better positioned to cast a higher degree of influence in your dealings with others.  

Myth #1

You cannot tell what someone is thinking based on their body language.  

Some people espouse that belief to be true. But in truth, it is only a half-truth. Depending on the body language gestures emitted, the reality is that you can tell what someone is thinking based on their body language.

For example, if someone is opening and clinching their hand, and then it turns into a fist, you can assume that person is becoming agitated. Furthermore, you can infer that the degree of agitation is heightened when the motion turns from opening and closing the hand, and it becomes a fist.

So, to become influential in such situations, what might you do?  

1. Decrease your body language gestures. Do that by not making wild hand movements.

2. Give the person you are interacting with physical space if you are face-to-face. Let that person vent if you are teleconferencing and observe the clinching fist action. They need to get the irritation they are experiencing out of their system.

3. Do not display irritation or become irate. If you show anger, you will most likely heighten the situation, not subdue it. And you will lose the opportunity to control the environment, along with the chance to influence its occurrence and the person with whom you are engaging.

Myth #2

Arms crossed indicate a lack of receptiveness.

Some people believe arms crossed means a person creates a barrier stating that they are not open to what you say. That may or may not be accurate. Someone having their arms crossed in and of itself does not indicate that person is not open. It is a myth.

An individual may cross their arms as a form of comfort; women may do so more than men due to the structure of their bodies. The point is, do not assume that someone lacks receptiveness simply because their arms are crossed. Instead, to confirm your suspicions:

1. Say or do something to get them to uncross their arms. To accomplish this, sometimes, I remark on the beauty of a watch or jewelry on someone’s wrist and ask if I might see it closer.

Once they extend their arm and I’ve peered at it, I note what position they adopt after that. If the arms are still crossed, I may probe further in an attempt to have them keep their arms uncrossed.

2. Mirror their actions – cross your arms and attempt to sense what they are experiencing. In some cases, I’ve turned this into a fun activity by telling the person that I was attempting to share their sensations by crossing my arms. That tends to lighten the mood and extend my influence. You can do the same to raise yours.

Myth #3

Liars fidget when they speak.

Once again, this is a myth that some people state as being definitive. But in reality, their assumptions are not valid. What people perceive as fidgeting could be someone’s attempt to soothe themselves.

When people feel uneasy, they may display signs of discomfort (i.e., touching their face, ears, rubbing their leg, etc.) They may be telling the truth but feel uneasy in the current environment due to outside circumstances. Thus, they attempt to comfort themselves about that and not what you are discussing.   

How might you cast a greater degree of influence in this situation?

1. First, observe when someone begins to fidget per the topic of discussion. Later, you can use that as a baseline to note a change in their behavior and mood. Over time, if they become less fidgety, take note of your influence based on their altered perspective.

2. When someone displays fidgeting signs, ask them if they are okay. Take note of whether they respond with a question – why do you ask, or if they make a statement – I’m alright.

The person who asks that question seeks more insight into your perceptions before conveying information. That could indicate they want to cover something up. Or, they may be inquisitive; probe to uncover what lies beneath their question and why they responded in that manner. Once you have the answer, you will know which direction to cast your influence.  

Reflection

Now that you are aware of the body language myths mentioned, how might you alter your thought process to influence others? I suggest you deepen your awareness. That means sharpening your eye once you witness them.

Doing that will allow you to discern other body language gestures that may lead to more insight into becoming perceived as having more influence. In turn, that will enable you to have more sway over others. And everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating!  

Check out this offer to learn more about negotiating better and reading body language!

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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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