“Master 7 Micro-Expressions How-To Guide For Revealing Body Language Better” – Negotiation Tip of the Week

“Micro-expressions can reveal someone’s inner thoughts, thoughts that their words may never disclose.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert

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“Master 7 Micro-Expressions How-To Guide

For Revealing Body Language Better”

People don’t realize they’re always negotiating.

Reading body language micro-expressions gives a negotiator an additional advantage in negotiation over reading body language alone. While observing someone’s body language will lend insight into their hidden thoughts and emotions, reading micro-expressions is more pronounced. It can announce undisclosed opinions they choose not to express verbally.  

Micro-expressions last for less than a second. When someone displays them, they do so before their brain checks the expressed emotion. Thus, micro-expressions disclose the true feelings someone is experiencing at that moment.   

This article highlights the seven micro-expressions generic to everyone on Earth. It also delves into how to interpret them better in a negotiation.

The Importance Of Reading Body Language In Negotiation

When they negotiate, I advise people to meet in person, whenever possible, rather than via the telephone or the Internet. I do so because in-person negotiations can assist the bonding process quicker than non-face-to-face encounters. And even though a negotiator can still hear nonverbal cues when negotiating over the phone and seeing micro-expressions over the Internet, the latter becomes more complicated when watching on a small screen versus being in person with someone. 

Without full access to gestures and facial expressions, negotiators may become challenged to interpret each other’s possible undisclosed intentions accurately. Thus, if a negotiator cannot uncover their opposite’s emotions, they would lack the input of that person’s feelings. That would lead to concentrating only on what was said.

Micro-expressions provide a peek into your counterpart’s raw and genuine emotions and what they are experiencing. And therein lies their value.

The Seven Micro-Expressions

There are seven micro-expressions universal to everyone on Earth. They are fear, anger, disgust, surprise, contempt, sadness, and happiness. The following is advice about recognizing the body language of micro-expressions and how accurately reading them will improve your negotiation skills.

1. Fear: One shows fear through raised eyebrows, tensed eyelids, and lips stretched horizontally. Fear can indicate a person is feeling threatened or uncertain. In a negotiation, this could mean the person is not confident in their position and may be willing to compromise.

2. Anger: A negotiator displays anger through lowered eyebrows, tensed eyelids, and lips pressed together. This expression can indicate someone feels threatened or is experiencing frustration. In a negotiation, this could mean the person is unwilling to compromise and may be looking for a fight.

3. Disgust: A negotiator shows disgust with a raised upper lip, a wrinkled nose, and lowered eyebrows. This expression can indicate that the person is feeling repulsed or offended. That could mean there is a lack of interest in your offer.

4. Surprise: A person conveys surprise via raised eyebrows, widened eyes, and open mouth. This expression can indicate the person is shocked or surprised. In a negotiation, this could mean the person is caught off guard and may be more willing to listen to your proposal.

5. Contempt: When a person shows one corner of the mouth raised and a narrowed eye on the same side, they display contempt. This expression can indicate the person is feeling superior or disdainful. In a negotiation, this may mean the person is not taking you seriously or is suspicious about what you are saying.

6. Sadness: With lowered eyebrows, drooping eyelids, and a downturned mouth, someone displays sadness. This expression can indicate the person is feeling unhappy or depressed. During negotiation, this could mean the person is not confident in their position and may be willing to compromise.

7. Happiness: A negotiator shows happiness through raised cheeks, crow’s feet around the eyes, and a smile. This expression may indicate that the person is feeling happy or content. In a negotiation, this could mean the person has positive feelings about an offer and the outcome of the talks.

How To Improve Your Ability To Read Micro-Expressions

You can improve your ability to read micro-expressions with practice. Here are some tips for doing that:

1. Learn the basics: Learning the basics of facial expression analysis can help you understand the different types of micro-expressions and how to interpret them correctly

2. Practice: Practice is essential for improving your ability to read micro-expressions. Try to identify the micro-expressions people display and what they might mean. You can practice by observing people in different situations, such as in meetings or social gatherings.

3. Focus on the face: When trying to read micro-expressions, it is essential to focus on the person’s face. Pay attention to their eyes, eyebrows, and mouth, as these are the areas where micro-expressions are most visible.

4. Consider the context: Context is critical when interpreting micro-expressions. Consider the situation and the person’s body language, tone of voice, and words to get a complete picture of their feelings.

The Benefits Of Recognizing Micro-Expressions During Negotiations

Being able to read micro-expressions can give you an edge in negotiations. By recognizing the hidden thoughts and emotions of others, you can adjust your approach to achieve a more favorable outcome. For example, if you notice that the other person is feeling fearful, you may be able to offer a compromise that will put them at ease. If you see that the other person is angry, you may want to step back and try to defuse the situation.


Reading body language micro-expressions is an essential skill in negotiation. By recognizing the seven micro-expressions, you can gain insight into the hidden thoughts and emotions of others. That can help you adjust your approach for a more favorable negotiation outcome.

So to uncover more hidden secrets during negotiations, focus on someone’s face, capture micro-expressions while speaking, and incorporate effective body language into your negotiation tactics. By practicing reading micro-expressions, you can become a master negotiator. And everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating!

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

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