“Micro Macro Expressions Deception Detection – How To Win More Negotiations” – Negotiation Insights

“Being mindful of deception detection can help one stay safer in life. Accurately detecting deception can be a lifesaver.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert (Click to Tweet)

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“Micro Macro Expressions Deception Detection

How To Win More Negotiations”

People don’t realize they’re always negotiating.

What value do you place in your negotiations on recognizing facial expressions that lift the veil that hides hidden thoughts – some of which might help in deception detection? Do you know how to accurately read the feelings and opinions that lurk in the recesses of someone’s mind based on the micro expressions and macro expressions they display?

By reading the other negotiator’s micro expressions and macro expressions, you gain a more precise interpretation of their thoughts, along with the pending actions in which they may engage. And that awareness can help assist you in achieving more winning negotiation outcomes.  

Continue to gain insight into how you can use micro expressions and macro expressions to gain an advantage in your negotiations. You will also gain an understanding of how the two differ and the meaning of that difference.

The Difference Between Micro Expressions And Macro Expressions

One of the significant differences between micro expressions and macro expressions is the length of time someone displays their gesture. The former is one quarter to one half of a second. And the latter is one second to four seconds. Another notable difference is, one can easily miss micro expressions since they are fleeting and displayed involuntarily. And, they also express concealed emotions.

Since macro expressions are displayed longer than micro expressions, it is intentional. It is made voluntarily and can take on the appearance of matching the tone of spoken words. Thus, macro expressions may be easier to detect. But since they are voluntary gestures, the displayer may use them to mislead an opponent during negotiations.  

Deception Detection

Some research has linked lying with facial and body language cues, such as the expanded size of one’s pupils, the direction in which one moves their upper body while speaking, and the degree to which one presses their lips. Studies also detailed how and when someone parses their words, along with the tonality used, to gather greater insight into their attempts at deception.

Thus, observe the following signs during your deception detection during negotiations.

1. Note the tone someone uses when they make statements or ask questions.

In particular, examine how it may have changed compared to prior statements your counterpart made. And catalog the current tone to those that follow. The shifting of tonality, especially when discussing the same topic, will lend insight into the degree of comfort the speaker is experiencing. That comfort or discomfort may be shown through a quickening or slowing down in speech. To the degree that they begin to exhibit signs of uncomfortableness, note that possible deception may be at hand.    

2. Observe body movement when someone speaks.

When a negotiator speaks, they do so from the level of comfort per their speaking topic. Accordingly, if they have a sense of inner discomfort, it will be displayed through the micro and macro expressions they exhibit. Expressions such as:  

A.) Displaying signs of contempt – one corner of the lip turned upward

If it is a micro expression, it will occur quickly; thus, you must be observant to catch it. If it is a macro expression, it will linger on the displayers face longer. And it may do so to cast a greater sense of unlikeability per what the two of you are discussing. That may then lead to the deception that serves as a gateway for achieving that person’s goals.  

B.) Sign of surprise – The facial expression of surprise is shown through raised eyebrows, mouth agape, and widened eyes.

When someone displays a micro expression of surprise, it will last about one-quarter of a second. And, the appearance will be genuine surprise, not faked. Contrast that to your counterpart making the same facial display via a macro expression. That expression will linger on the person’s face for more than a second. And it may be contrived to deceive you into thinking the emitter did so for other purposes, that being to manipulate you.

Micro Expressions – Macro Expressions – Deception Detection – Putting It All Together To Increase Negotiation Abilities

One consideration about the different gestures to note is those displayed by someone’s face and their body. Facial micro expressions are universal. Meaning, no matter where you are in the world, the display will be genuine; they are involuntary displays. And they reflect the current state of mind of the person displaying them. Thus, when someone attempts to express their actual state of mind, it will manifest itself through that person’s facial actions.

So, by being keenly aware of when someone shows a micro versus a macro expression, you can gauge the intent of the other negotiator’s thoughts. In the former, their appearance is not contrived; they are telling you through their display exactly what their emotional thoughts are. And that should be what guides your actions.

On the other hand, when witnessing a macro expression, be mindful of its source; some macro expressions can begin as micro expressions that morph into the former. Meaning, the micro expression that lingers too long becomes a macro expression. But that may not hide the fact that the displayer initially had the emotions of a micro expression, and they may be choosing to conceal thoughts; thus, the expression morphs into a macro expression.


Every day, someone attempts to impose deceit upon us. But now that you have greater insight into the differences between micro expressions and macro expressions, along with how to use them in your negotiations, you will be better at deception detection. That will allow you to win more negotiations. And everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating!

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