As you’re negotiating, do you read the body language of the other negotiator? The answer is yes, but are you aware you can negotiate better by reading body language better? The secret to reading body language better is knowing what signals to look for and how to interpret them.
This article highlights 3 aspects of reading body language that you can use to get better negotiation results.
When observing the eyes, observe in what direction the other negotiator looks to assess information. To be accurate with your interpretation of his eye movements, first establish his baseline; do this with him in a non-threatening environment prior to the official negotiation. You can determine his baseline by asking him questions that pertain to everyday occurrences (e.g. what was the weather like where he was yesterday, how long has he been in business, etc.) Ask questions that make him think about his answers to get him to move his eyes. During his answers observe if he looks up and to the left or right. Follow up with several more non-threatening questions to confirm his eye movement when assessing such recall. Once you’re sure you’ve accurately obtained how he utilizes his eye movement related to whether he’s recalling information or creating it, during the negotiation you’ll be able to tell when he’s lying or being truthful.
When speaking at a normal pace, a person speaks between 110-150 words per minutes. When someone becomes excited, that rate may increase to 175-240 words per minute. The latter could indicate anxiety or another form of discomfort.
To gain insight into the mental perspective of your negotiation counterpart, observe at what point his speech quickens and why it might have done so at that point. Also observe moisture on his brow, lip, or hands. This will indicate tension and/or nervousness, which will serve as confirmation about his quickening speech being authentic. At that point, you can maneuver him into a heightened state of agitation or calm, whichever suits your purpose for the negotiation at that time.
When it comes to hand movement, observe to what degree hand movements are synchronized to the beat of the words being spoken. If they’re not, that could indicate disjointed thinking, which is to imply the other negotiator might be frazzled. The other observation to assess is to what degree his hand(s) turns down when he says something is not appealing to him, versus the hands turned upward in such situations implying that he’s more in agreement than he’d want you to believe.
A finger stabbing the air or pointed downward on the beat of speech, coupled with a raised tone in voice, is definite insight into a heightened state of agitation. More than likely, you’ve raised his ire. You may wish to tread lightly until greater control is exercised in the negotiation.
Some body language signals can be confusing but when you know what to look for, you can discern their meaning. Once you’re proficient at spotting the nuances that detail the thought process associated with body language signals, you’ll be at a point where you’ll enhance your negotiation outcomes by reading body language better … and everything will be right with the world.
Remember, you’re always negotiating!