“Her Body Said No And She Lost The Deal Quickly” – Negotiation Tip of the Week

Negotiation Tip of the Week


Your body’s mind is shown in your body language. Mind your body language to enhance your mind and your language. – Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert

Her Body Said No And She Lost The Deal Quickly 


“Her Body Said No And She Lost The Deal Quickly”


She sat outside the office where the meeting was to occur, contemplating what she was going to say. She felt pressure because she knew this deal could be the break that got her business up and running or the source that would cause her business aspirations to become broken. As she practiced what she’d say to the venture capitalists that she would meet shortly, consternation showed on her face. She tried to relax but the more she attempted to do so the more stressed she felt. Then she heard her name called and like a hovercraft barely touching the water, she felt her feet moving barely touching the floor.


When she sat before the venture capitalists she stammered as her bumbled words fell incoherently from her mouth. She sat back when she should have set forward, crossed her arms when attempting to display openness, and pressed her palms downward when she spoke about the possible growth of her business. After 9 minutes, one venture capitalist excused himself from the meeting muttering as he departed, “her body said no and because of that, she lost the deal.”

The following are a few body language signals to be aware of.


Leaning Away/Forward:

Be mindful as to when you lean away or towards someone. The gesture indicates to what degree you’re in agreement with what they’re saying or how you think they’re perceiving your message. Thus, your gesture will impact the person with whom you’re negotiating, even if it’s on a subconscious level.


The best way to use this gesture is to sit back when an offer has been extended that doesn’t please you; you can also sit back in degrees (e.g. learning further back the more you’re displeased or further forward when being pleased). You should also be mindful of not leaning back when being challenged unless you want to send the intentional signal of allowing someone to invade your space. If that’s your intent be aware to what degree the other negotiator takes advantage of that opening.


Rubbing Hands/Palms/Thighs:

Your body always seeks a state of comfort. When it’s out of that state, you commit gestures to soothe yourself. Such gestures as rubbing your hands, palms, or thighs is an attempt to put yourself into a more peaceful state. That said, take note when you or the other negotiator accelerates the rubbing of hands. That’s a sign of anticipation. Depending on what’s being discussed, if such a signal is displayed by the other negotiator he’s internalizing the value of obtaining what you’ve offered or preparing for battle. Noticing the timing of his actions is an indication of the power you have at that moment.


Tone and Pace of Speech:

You should always be aware when someone quickens or reduces their pace of speech and their tonality. The answer to why they became altered will lie in what was said that caused them to do so. Since the body strives to stay in a state of comfort, the more someone speaks at an accelerated pace the more they’re displaying their sense of urgency or excitement. The exact opposite is the case when they slow their pace. At that time, they’re in more of a reflective or thinking mode. As an aside, good negotiators may use this as a tactic to give the appearance of being reflective while really stalling for time.


Your body language impacts your persona and your persona influences those with whom you negotiate. Studies have indicated that up to 87% of communications is conveyed through body language. So, be mindful of the signals your body emits.


Suffice it to say, the better you are at reading body language the better you’ll be at communications and negotiations … and everything will be right with the world.


What are your takeaways? I’d really like to know. Reach me at Greg@TheMasterNegotiator.com


Remember, you’re always negotiating.





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