“Body Language Concern What You Must Know How To Win More Negotiations” – Negotiation Tip of the Week

“Body language is the hidden art of the body revealing hidden secrets.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert (Click to Tweet)

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“Body Language Concern – What You Must Know

How To Win More Negotiations”

People don’t realize they’re always negotiating.

You are in a tough negotiation, and things appear to be getting more challenging. You observe your opponent’s body language, and you are not sure of what you are sensing. One moment you witness what appears to be a smile, but his words do not match his facial expressions. Plus, the body language gestures he makes with his hands almost seem threatening.

What is happening? How well do you read body language during your negotiations and interactions with people? Would you like to increase your ability to read body language better?

The following will highlight several body language features you may not have known. This insight will allow you to decode the hidden meanings of those you deal with. It will also give you an advantage during your negotiations.  

Body Language – Facial Construction

There are 43 different muscles in the face. With those muscles, a person can create over 10 thousand facial expressions. These expressions are generic to everyone and hardwired into our brains.

So, when a person smiles, you detect that to mean they are pleased. And when they frown, you assume they are displeased. You can also sense when they are disgusted. So, just by observing a negotiator’s face, you can quickly assess their disposition.

Body Language – Deception Detection

When people are in environments where they feel safe, they display signs of comfort. And when they fear something in their environment, they show signs of guardedness.

In a negotiation, it would behoove you to note when the opposing negotiator shifts from a state of comfort to one displaying discomfort. It will be the discussion you had at the point of that shift that you want to observe. And the attempt of the opposition to conceal that shift may be the point at which they are attempting to prevent you from gaining insight into their possible deception.

So, what signs might you detect discomfort in the opposing negotiator or signs of deception?

Some are:

Lip Biting:

Stress or uncertainty can be the cause of this occurrence. It can also signal that the person making the gesture is subliminally or physically stopping themselves from saying something or concealing their emotions.

Lip Compression:

The body language gesture of lip compression requires special observance. On the one hand, a quick lip compression, two lips pressed together, may indicate the beginning stage of sadness, grief, anger, disliking something stated, or a lack of certainty. Or on the other hand, when the lower lip thrusts against the upper protruding lip, the displayer may be issuing a protest gesture, signaling the onset of a test, or stating the enjoyment of a situation.


When a negotiator narrows their eyes’ focus, it usually signals negativity. That may be due to their perceived offensiveness to what you stated. And the more narrow their eyes become, the more offended they become.  

Fidgeting with Clothing:

Someone may show these gestures by smoothing out a shirtsleeve or picking lent, invisible or not, off another part of their garment. Depending on the conversation, these actions can signal that your opposition is becoming uneasy with the topic of discussion.  

Hand Rubbing/Wringing:

People tend to exhibit these body language gestures when overwrought with distress or worry. The more they show this action, the greater the level of discomfort they are displaying.

Furrowing of the Forehead:

Someone displays this gesture when they are in a state of concentration or experiencing anxiety. When accompanied by tightening eyebrows, the displayer may also be signaling disapproval.

Fingers Through Hair:

Depending on the discussion, when someone passes their fingers through their hair, they may be preening themselves or showing signs of concern, flustered, stressed, or upset. If they are preening, they are displaying pride and self-satisfaction.

In every negotiation, reactions occur when a negotiator asks or answers a question. Those signs appear in the body language of the negotiator posing the question and that of the opposition. The question you might ask yourself is, why is the display shown being made at that particular moment. Therein will lie how you can use body language to win more negotiations.   


Our body always wants to be in a state of comfort. And when it is not in that condition, our body language will outwardly display signs that our body is attempting to put itself back into a position of comfort. Observing the point the signals mentioned occurred will lend insight into what caused the opposing negotiator’s behavior and how they maneuver to regain their comfort perspective.

Now that you have that insight, you are more aware of what to observe to accurately read an opponent’s body language. You can use that knowledge to enhance your negotiation efforts. 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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