“How To Expose Hidden Body Language To Your Advantage In A Negotiation” – Negotiation Insight

“To expose anything hidden, you must recognize its hiding place and possess the means to uncover it.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert (click to Tweet)

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“How To Expose Hidden Body Language

To Your Advantage In A Negotiation”

People don’t realize they’re always negotiating.

During negotiation, what body language signals do you observe to gain greater meaning into your opposition’s thoughts, words, and offers? Do you take into consideration the hidden body language signals you may be missing? Being able to provoke and then detect undisclosed body language signs can give you a considerable advantage in a negotiation. And here’s how you can uncover those signs to gain that advantage.

Body Language Stress Signals

Before you can expose hidden body language signs, you must know what to detect. The following are a few of those signals and what they may mean.

Fidgeting, handwringing, neck rubbing, and drumming fingers are a few body language gestures that indicate stress. They’re self-soothing actions that people display to comfort themselves. Note when they occur related to what you’re discussing in the negotiation. The display of anxiety may reveal an attempt to keep information concealed. 

Face-To-Face And Virtual Body Language Signs To Observe

When possible, you should negotiate face-to-face. That will allow you the benefit of gathering and interpreting body language cues more accurately. But, when you’re in virtual environments, you can still discern silent body language signals that’ll allow you to expose concealed thoughts.

To do that, note how you and your counterpart’s gestures are aligned. When people are aligned mentally, they mimic each other’s body language. They may also use the exact words to describe a situation, make an offer, etc. In some cases, they may be breathing at the same pace. The individuals may blink their eyes at the same rate too. Studies have shown that mimicking one’s actions makes you appear more trustworthy, which lends more urgency to noting when the connection is no longer there.

When parties no longer display those synchronized actions, a break in their mental connection has occurred. The question you’d want to ask yourself is why – what caused that to happen? By being aware that something has occurred, you’ll be able to address its source. That will allow you to prevent it from hampering the negotiation deeper once you’re further into the process.

Silent Body Language Signals To Observe

She said, “Why did you ask if he was going with me – referring to her husband?” I don’t know, was the response. Why are you asking, was the question posed in return? She said, “There was something in your manner. That led me to infer the possibility of hidden thoughts you may have had.”

The woman in that conversation did perceive hidden thoughts not disclosed. She did so by observing the man’s tone in the way he’d asked his question. Her sharpness with recognizing the possibility of hidden body language signs will make her a better negotiator. So, what did you observe that you might emulate to enhance your negotiation skills?

1. She sensed the pace of the question. It wasn’t fluid. Instead, it was slightly stilted, as though the man was taking a moment to thank about his question.

When someone pauses when they’re speaking, even for a moment, recognize that they may be in thought mode – determining how they’re phrasing their question. When that person is in that mindset, consider what they may be thinking. If it’s of importance to you, ask them about their thoughts. That’ll uncover additional information that you may be able to use when negotiating.

2. Another thought to ponder is what’s occurring in someone’s head when they accelerate their speaking.

That can be a sign of anxiety. If it is, what thoughts are they contemplating that’s causing them stress is what you might wonder. The hidden signals behind the disclosure of someone’s words can convey more than the words themselves. And that’s why you should become more aware of the silent body language signals people emit. During a negotiation, those signals and your capturing of them can be the difference between a great outcome and one that’s mediocre.

Provoking Hidden Body Language

So, how might you provoke someone into disclosing concealed body language signals? There are several ways to do so. But there are two main categories to which you should lend your focus.

Being Gentle

You can attempt to coerce someone to disclose their inner thoughts during negotiation by being gentle with them. For example, you might say, “I sense a hidden statement, or question, in the way you said that. What am I missing? What else might you want to tell me?” Effect your persona by being slightly playful and encouraging depending on the situation. Then, observe the body language gestures emitted by the other negotiator. If she becomes demure, begins to fidget, or suggests through her actions that you’re on to her possible hidden thoughts, pursue your nudging. Her gestures will give you insights into her thoughts. And your gentle persistence will reward you with additional information.     

Being Firm or Harsh

There will be times when a negotiator can use a brashness or project a firm or harsh demeanor to provoke their counterpart into disclosing information. When a negotiator believes his opposition is withholding vital information, he must decide how to uncover it. If you choose to use the firm or harsh manner to get the opponent to disclose information, understand the type of individual with whom you’re dealing. Some negotiators will rail against your efforts, and that will make the negotiation more challenging. 


Every negotiation is different. But possessing the ability to expose hidden body language signs will give you an unusually heightened advantage in all of your negotiation efforts. By following the outline mentioned, you’ll uncover hidden body language signals quicker, along with becoming more formidable as a negotiator. 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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