“Questions form the foundation through which we gain greater insight into the unknown.” –Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert.
When considering how you’ll engage in a negotiation, the questions you ask of yourself and the opposing negotiator will determine how successful you’ll be in the negotiation. The following are thought-provoking questions that will allow you to be a more awesome negotiator and enhance your thought process and abilities to win more negotiations.
1) How difficult will it be to read the other negotiator’s body language?
In assessing the other negotiator’s body language, understand what she does in a ‘normal’ environment; this can be obtained by observing her when she’s in situations that are not stressful. Then, during the negotiation look for body language signals that are different from what you observed when she was in her ‘normal’ environment. The different displays will give you insight into how comfortable or uncomfortable she is based on what you’ve asked that puts her in that state.
2) How will you control subliminal messaging?
Subliminal messages are thoughts or actions that you convey that move the other negotiator to adopt and action or thought that you want him to consider or engage in. To the degree you want to bond with him, you can speak at the same pace, invoke thoughts of happy times that he’s experienced in the past into the negotiation, and mirror his actions. Since people like people that are like themselves, your subliminal acts will remind him of himself, which will state to him that you’re just like he is.
3) How will colors influence the negotiation?
Colors have a profound impact on our psyche. To the degree we’re aware of it, we’re less influenced by colors. As an example, red denotes power, passion, danger, and strength. White, in the American society, denotes purity and innocence, while blue is associated with trust, stability, and loyalty. So, if a negotiator was attired in such colors and you were not aware of the impact the colors were having on you subliminally, you might be more prone to acquiesce to concessions, due to the perceived authority you had of them at a subliminal/subconscious level.
4) How will you shift your strategy as you read the others negotiator’s body language signals?
Body language signals can give unfettered insight into the thought process that’s occurring in the opposing negotiator’s mind. To the degree you see a frown at a particular time, him pulling away from or towards the table, all such signals are indicators as to how pleased or displeased he is with your offer/counteroffers. By observing when such occurs, you can increase or decrease the value of your offers.
5) How can you tell when the other negotiator is lying?
Rather than seeking to discern when the other negotiator is lying, seek signs that display to what degree he’s uncomfortable. Since the body always seeks to be in a state of comfort, when it’s uncomfortable, we do such things as rub the back of our necks, fold our arms across our chest, tighten our lips, or shift our weight from one foot/leg to the other. Those body language signals are indications that the body is in a state of discomfort. To understand the meaning that it’s seeking to be comfortable again, you need to assess what you did/said, or what the other negotiator did/said, to put the body in the state of discomfort. Therein will be disclosed to what degree some form of a lie may have been told.
As you can see, the more you understand what you may encounter in a negotiation, the better prepared you’ll be. In order to be better prepared, consider reflecting on the questions above and you’ll win more of your negotiations … and everything will be right with the world.
Remember, you’re always negotiating!