“Increase Negotiation Skills – Do You Know How To Read Body Language”  – Negotiation Tip of the Week

“In negotiations, opportunities can vanish quickly. Reading body language helps identify movements before it occurs.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert

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“Increase Negotiation Skills

Do You Know How To Read Body Language”  

People don’t realize they’re always negotiating.

Negotiation is something everyone engages in every day. Thus, it is an essential skill for those who want better outcomes in both personal and professional environments.

To negotiate effectively, a negotiator must have good communication and negotiation skills. That allows them to possess a greater understanding of someone’s perspectives. And the one thing that enhances a negotiator’s ability to negotiate better is being able to read body language.

In this article, I outline how you can increase your negotiation skills by reading body language. This article will also provide valuable insights and techniques to achieve more successful negotiation outcomes that will serve you for the rest of your life.

Body Language – Rapport And State Of Comfort

As I stated, observing body language is a crucial aspect of negotiation. You can build rapport and establish stronger connections with others by noticing the little clues they emit via their body language.

Begin by observing their posture. A relaxed and open posture indicates receptiveness, while a closed position may suggest self-protectiveness.

Open and closed gestures are essential to note because our body always seeks comfort. And when it is out of that state, we emit self-soothing gestures (i.e., rubbing our arms, legs, touching ourselves, etc.) to put our body back into a feeling of comfort.

To build rapport, observe the gestures emitted by your opposite and reflect on their thought occurrences. Then, take actions to enhance their emotional state, or dampen it, based on your chosen strategy for that negotiation segment.

Body Language Facial Expressions

Our facial expressions convey many of our inner sentiments. To better understand how we express our feelings through facial expressions, please participate in the following.

Imagine you just smelled something that stunk – a smell that almost makes your eyes water! Did you notice your facial expression?

You most likely pulled your eyebrows down and had your nose wrinkled. That’s a sign of disgust. And seeing it during a negotiation could signal your counterpart dislikes your offering or something occurring in the talks. It would be best to consider exactly when they emitted the display to asses how to advance the discussion. 

Nonverbal/Verbal Body Language Signals


Sighing is a sign of uneasiness. A person displays it when exasperated due to annoyance or irritation.

When you sense it during negotiations, depending on what you are discussing, you can increase the intensity of your request or demands or relieve the pressure by momentarily disengaging from that aspect of your negotiation. Thus, you can control the other negotiator by lowering or increasing the pressure, like heat or air conditioning in a room.


There are subtle ways to bond with the other negotiator during your talks. One way is by mimicking their actions. For example, note a genuine smile (i.e., mouth upturned, lifted cheeks, crinkled eyes at the corner.) That signifies comfort and agreement, compared to a furrowed brow and a frown; the latter indicating disagreement.

If you observe and mimic a negotiator’s smile during negotiations, you create a mirroring effect. It says, I am like you, and we are in agreement. And, if you continue to mimic other gestures, within reason, you will create more of an endearment between the two of you, giving you yet another way to increase your negotiation skills.


Micro-expressions are facial displays lasting less than a second. They reveal a negotiator’s genuine emotions – sometimes, they are emotions they do not wish you to know.

There are seven micro-expressions – Fear, Anger, Disgust, Surprise, Contempt, Sadness, and Happiness. For more insights about micro-expressions, click here https://bit.ly/3P83WiD   

Recognizing and interpreting micro-expressions during negotiation will increase your negotiation skills and give you a massive advantage in your talks.

Hand/Arm Gestures

Hand and arm gestures can reveal significant insights about a negotiator’s thoughts during a negotiation. Thus, it behooves you to observe when open or closed gestures are displayed.

Open, palm-up gestures can indicate honesty and a willingness to collaborate. Closed gestures like palms down may suggest a desire for control or disagreement. Crossed arms may signify a defensive stance. Conversely, open arms can represent openness and receptiveness to ideas.

Consider that the more a negotiator keeps their hands and arms away from their body, the more open they are. And the opposite is true per how close they keep their arms and hands.

Just remember, the body always seeks a state of comfort. And when it is uncomfortable, it emits signs that it is attempting to return to that state. Thus, I recommend observing a cluster of gestures, hands, arms, smiles/frowns, etc., to more accurately detect what a negotiator is expressing.

Note: Savvy negotiators may display open or closed body language gestures to mislead you, fostering the opposite of what they truly feel.


I have outlined a few body language signals to observe to increase your negotiation skills. I suggest you delve deeper into reading body language to improve your negotiation abilities – because understanding and utilizing body language enhances your negotiation outcomes significantly.

Accordingly, by paying attention to verbal and nonverbal body language cues, you can acquire valuable insights into the other negotiator’s thoughts and emotions. And with practice, you can become proficient in decoding and incorporating these cues into your negotiation strategy.

So, yes. Effective negotiation combines verbal and nonverbal communication. Accordingly, if you harness the power of reading body language, you can increase your negotiation skills in every negotiation you encounter. And everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating!

Listen to Greg’s podcast at https://megaphone.link/CSN6318246585

After reading this article, what are you thinking? I’d like to know. Reach me at Greg@TheMasterNegotiator.com

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