“Every ‘body’ speaks, but everybody doesn’t speak body language. Learn the language of nonverbal communications (Body Language) and you’ll hear and see the sounds and sights of silence and invisibility.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert
“How To Read Body Language Right To Negotiate Better”
What do you look at when attempting to read body language? When you negotiate, the better you can read the other negotiator’s body language, the more insight you’ll have about the thought process he’s going through. That insight will also give you inside information about the plans he’s attempting to use per his strategy for the negotiation.
Suffice it to say, the better you are at reading body language right, the better you’ll be when you negotiate.
The following are insights on how you can become a more accurate body language reader in your negotiations.
Body Language Signs To Observe:
In the midst of a negotiation, as offers and counteroffers are exchanged, a physiological occurrence takes place in both negotiators. A few signs that you should be aware of are perspiration on the brow, excessive fidgeting, fondling of objects, and constant rubbing of the neck/hands/leg(s). Such actions will denote a body language signal of uneasiness, possible stress, and possibly a lack of direction per what should be said or done in response to what is being discussed. The reason for such actions lie in the fact that at such times, the person emitting the actions is seeking to take himself from a state of discomfort and place himself in a state of comfort.
When you see such body language signals being exhibited by the other negotiator, you can allow him to linger in his anguish and/or offer him a reprieve to allow him to escape the feeling of anxiety that he’s experiencing. If you do so, determine the price he’ll have to pay. That price may come in the form of a concession you wish to receive or a chit that you can use in another phase of the negotiation. Be mindful of utilizing your gain sooner versus later in such situations. The longer you wait after allowing him to escape his state of discomfort to obtain your reward, the less effective it will be and the less likely that such will be impactful on the negotiation.
Listen and Watch for Unspoken Words and Gestures:
In a negotiation, a vast amount of communications is conveyed via nonverbal gestures. A cough at the appropriate or inappropriate time can reframe and/or reshape a message delivered and give that message a completely different meaning. As such, be aware of how you can utilize such a ploy in your negotiation and be aware of when such is being used against you.
Other nonverbal clues to observe are pace and tonality change in speech. When someone changes their pace of speech they’re doing so to either place more emphasis upon what they’re saying or thinking of how to deliver their message. In either case, you can gain insight into their thoughts by observing when they alter their pace by noting what stimulus caused them to do so. In essence, take note of what they were talking about prior to the alteration and what they speak about afterwards. Thus, if a negotiator was in the midst of saying, “I think we might be better …” and then says, “Oh, never mind.” You just gained insight that he did not like your offer 100% and was attempting to enhance it on his behalf, but could not do so at that time. Instead, he chose to back off. That’s not to say he’ll completely retreat from the point. Instead, you should take note of his actions and prepare to combat his rebuttal if he attempts to negotiate the point later.
As you can see, small nuances can make a big difference as to how successful you are in a negotiation. When you become more astute at reading body language right, you’ll win more negotiations … and everything will be right with the world.
Remember, you’re always negotiating!