When negotiating, your body language conveys your thoughts. That’s not a revelation. What may come as a revelation is the fact that you can assist in how you’re perceived through your body language, by controlling the body language signals you emit.
In order to exact such a demeanor, first consider the image you wish to project and the role that your body language will play. Then determine how you will cast the role in which you’ll play during the negotiation. In so doing, try implementing the following suggestions.
1. Set the stage: Prior to the negotiation, assess what the proper body language should be for the situation in which you’ll be negotiating. Be sure to dress, speak, and display the appropriate mannerisms for that environment. If the negotiation is held in your environment, be sure it reflects the theme you’re projecting.
2. Stay on message: Before the negotiation, determine what your most important position will be. Then, during the negotiation, if you wish to be perceived as being very focused, stay on point and align your body language to highlight that position. Regardless of the rebuttals you receive from the other negotiator, drive the focus of the negotiation back to your main point. Use body language, verbal and nonverbal communications, to assist in this effort. State your position and don’t move far from it, unless the other negotiator makes concessions that are sufficient for you to do so.
3. During the negotiation: Apply the appropriate body language signals (facial, hand, feet, and other body language expressions) throughout the negotiation. Stern facial expressions, coupled with steepled hands when conveying the degree that you believe your position has validity, will add to your allure. Use softer gestures (smiling with hands open/apart) to express the signal that you might be open to modifying a segment of your position.
The more dogmatic you are about synchronizing your body language with your negotiation position, the more your position will be perceived as being succinct and important. Such perception will occur at a conscious and subliminal level within the other negotiator. Suffice it to say, if done appropriately, you’ll be in a better position from which to negotiate … and everything will be right with the world. Remember, you’re always negotiating.
The Negotiation Tips Are …
- When negotiating, you don’t have to play the hand you’re dealt. You can change the hand in the process of the negotiation. In order to do so, increase your knowledge of how to read and use body language.
- As you negotiate, pay attention to what the other negotiator says, but pay more attention to his body language. Words can be used to manipulate, but the body never lies.
- There will be times in a negotiation when finesse will outdistance persistence. Learn when to utilize the most advantageous ploy by increasing your knowledge of negotiation strategies, tactics and the reading of body language.