“I wasn’t sure what I was sensing. But the story didn’t seem right. I didn’t know if it came from the man’s darting eyes, or his constant lip licking. He seemed nervous. And that increased my suspicion of his guilt.” Those were the words of a police officer recounting his thoughts to a supervisor. He’d just captured a criminal that had been on the lam for decades.
One researcher found most people lie in everyday conversation. They do so to appear approachable and skilled. As a negotiator, when you assess someone’s possible deceit, what signs do you look for in their body language? Are there other nonverbal signals that you spot that give clues to someone’s degree of truthfulness?
When a person lies, their body emits clues. That’s because our body attempts to stay in a constant state of comfort. And, when it’s out of that state, the body displays signals that account for that lack of wellbeing. The following guidelines will assist you in spotting lies in those that attempt to deceive you. Having this information will allow you to heighten your senses when someone is lying.
Reading Body Language
Forehead – When someone’s forehead begins to sweat, take note of what preceded that action. While the person may be sweating due to the heat, observe to what degree the sweating continues based on questions posed in the conversation. When coupled with other signs, you’ll have better insight into the person’s deceit or truthfulness.
Eyes – In some situations, a lier will avoid eye contact, because they know a lack of eye contact may indicate someone’s lying. And others will maintain eye contact longer than usual. To decern when someone may be lying, observe what’s regular eye contact for that person in different situations. As an example, note their eye movement when they’re calm compared to when they feel threatened in an attempt not to disclose the truth. Even when you first meet someone, within moments of the encounter, you can gauge their altering of eye movement. Note what may have caused it to occur.
Mouth – When people lie, and they believe someone may be spotting it, the more they speak, the drier their mouth may become. They may begin to lick their lips to offset the dryness or start to swallow excessively. Pay special attention to this act. While nerves may have a role in their actions, guilt from telling lies may be the real source.
Ears – Someone fondling their ears may be indicating that they can’t hear what you’re saying. But constant fondling is usually a sign that they’re attempting to comfort themselves. While they may be nervous, note some of the other signals to assess if there’s more to their fondling.
Neck – Rubbing the neck more than usual is another sign of tension, which may be caused by someone lying. Once again, observe other signals mentioned to gain greater insight into what this clue me be giving you.
Hands – Some people cover their mouth with their hand when lying. They’re attempting to hold back their words. If someone makes large gestures with their hands and then begin to make smaller ones while displaying some of the other signals noted, that might be another clue that they’re attempting to shield the lie that they want you to believe is the truth.
Fists – Hands that become fists indicate potential hostile actions to follow. That gesture in a tense situation may mean the person is tired of your inquisition. He may be experiencing anxiety from thinking you’re aware of his deceitful pronouncements.
Feet – When someone suspects that you’re aware of his lying, he may shift his body and point his feet towards the nearest exit. That gesture indicates that he wants to get out of the current environment because he feels uncomfortable.
As you watch someone’s body language, look for a cluster of actions. No action standing alone can definitively denote their truthfulness. Remember, when someone lies, their body emits signals. Those signals may be fleeting. But, if you’re astute at recognizing them, you’ll be better at catching the lies that people tell. That will allow you to maintain greater control in all of your environments … and everything will be right with the world.
How do you shape your logic before presenting an argument or rebuttal? And, would it be different if you were a whistleblower?
“The whistleblower doesn’t know what happened. He got his information from other sources.” Those were the words reportedly that came from officials at the White House. The words were stated to discredit the whistleblower. In reality, his account appears to be very accurate. And his report was laid out in a very logical format.
When presenting information, consider the following seven suggestions.
Make your arguments easy to embrace and understand. The more comfortable someone is in adopting a rebuttal, the more likely it is to persuade them.
Solicit empathy – When positioning a response to a question, attempt to place it as the other person would. That’ll allow that person to see herself in your response. It’ll also make it more difficult for her to refute it because she would have engaged in the same manner as you.
Before exposing your logic, think of where it might lead and how you might defend your position.
To make responses more potent, don’t defuse them. Adding unrelated or challenging to grasp information might defuse your position. Adding too many arguments can lead to a lack of understanding of your primary point. Thus, someone may become confused as the result of focusing on another aspect you’ve mentioned and giving that point more attention.
Demeanor – The persona you cast is how people will perceive you. Thus, if you threw the image of someone that’s challenging to deal with, you shouldn’t be surprised when someone deals with you in that manner. Conversely, if you position yourself as someone amenable, they’ll tend to respond to you in that manner. There’s always value in positioning yourself to meet the outcome you seek. Know what that is before projecting your persona, and you’ll have a better chance of convincing others to view situations from your perspective.
Don’t appear guilty when refuting a claim that’s logged against you. There are times when how you say something is more important than what you say. That’s because people will perceive your words through the body language gestures you emit while speaking. Therefore, if your words and body language are misaligned, and your nonverbal behavior sends signals of guilt, those will be the overriding indicators that are received. Thus, you’ll become viewed as being more guilty than innocent.
Acting crazy – “Crazy is as crazy does.” That’s a cliché denoting how some can feign craziness and use it to advantage their position. They’ll be times when it’s appropriate to act crazy. Doing so will ward off some people that might attack you. And others will keep their distance because they’re not sure how you’ll behave or respond in situations. Thus, this can be a very potent tool to use in certain circumstances. Those environments might occur when you don’t want to appear predictable, or when you want your opponent to stay on guard. That diversion can keep his attention focused on other activities.
What does this have to do with negotiations?
Every negotiation follows a logical flow. Even when it appears to be illogical, there’s a flow that will become logical. Hence, the better your logic is for what you want to occur during a negotiation, taking into consideration of the other negotiator’s reactions, the greater control you’ll have in that process. That should allow you to control the talks, which in turn should lead to a higher negotiation outcome for you … and everything will be right with the world.
“How To Negotiate Better By Knowing What Value Is”
What do you know about value?
“… I’m so sorry for your inconvenience. I can upgrade you to a better room.” Those were the words spoken by a front desk person at a 5-star hotel. He was informing a guest of what he could do as the result of the patron experiencing a restless night. The patron’s restlessness was due to his loud neighbors in other rooms on the floor. The patron had begun calling the front desk around 12-midnight to complain. Throughout the night, he called several more times – all to no avail to squelch the noise that prevented him from sleeping. He thought to himself, and this yammering is ceaseless.
When he checked out of the hotel the next morning, he told the desk manager of his experience. The manager extended apologies on behalf of the hotel, stated that the night’s stay would be removed from the guest’s bill and asked if there was anything else that he could do. The patron said no. I appreciate the gestures you’ve made. Then he said, “all I wanted was a good night’s sleep. I have an important meeting today. And I just wanted to be fresh and well-rested.” As he left the hotel, he wondered if he’d ever stay at that location again.
Do you see the difference between how the front desk person and the desk manager addressed the situation? It’s slight. But it’s also powerful. The desk manager extended apologies, and he asked the guest if there was anything else that he could do. He was seeking the guest’s perspective of value. In other words, he wanted to know what was essential to the guest. If you don’t know what someone values, you don’t know what to offer them. That means you’re making blind offers when doing so in a negotiation.
When you negotiate, there are five factors to keep in mind about value.
People have a different perspective on what they value and why. Once you know their value perspective, seek to understand it.
Don’t assume because someone is like you that they’ll like you. Even when people have similar values, there will be nuances that separate their opinions about value. To assume you share exact ideals as your negotiation counterpart can lead to offers and counteroffers that are not valued. In a worst-case scenario, such offers can be damaging to your negotiation efforts.
When you’re unsure of a person’s value, ask what they’d least like to lose. The reply will indicate what is of most importance.
To test someone about their value, ask, “if there’s one thing that I could grant you in this negotiation, what would it be?” Once again, that person’s value proposition will reside in their response.
This last suggestion may fall into the red herring category. It entails discovering something you possess that’s of great value to the other negotiator. Entice that person to believe that he can acquire it but at a very high cost. The higher he’s willing to pay for the acquisition, the higher the value of possessing it will be. Be cautious when engaging this means of acquiring someone’s value perspective. If you don’t allow them to receive it after getting them to make substantial offers, they could become unwilling to grant you much after that. Then, the negotiation might hit a roadblock.
To become a better negotiator, you must always understand what is of value to your negotiation counterpart. Once you do, making better offers will be more comfortable – because you’ll know which offers possess the highest value … and everything will be right with the world.
Life’s value-add is perceptional. Manage your expectations to better assess the sources from which value can be attracted to your life.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert
“The Value of Relationships – Long Versus Short”
Are the relationships you’re in adding or subtracting value from your life? It’s a serious question to ponder and one to reassess daily.
Too many times we wake up one morning and realize that we’re no longer living the ideal life we seek. Depending on the severity of that realization, we go into a state of panic, brought on by thoughts of uneasiness. You know when things aren’t right in your life! It’s usually a terse feeling that emanates from your gut that delivers the message. Then, you may appear to be erratic to those who know you, which may cause them to reevaluate the value you’re bringing to their life. That can set off a vicious cycle fraught with angst and anxiety. The question then becomes, what’s a person to do to maintain some sense of equilibrium in their life? The answer lies in the relationships you have with others.
If you find yourself in toxic relationships, at work, at home, etc., change them! Seek to alter the dynamics of the relationships that drag you down emotionally and/or physically. It may be difficult to do but consider the cost of your sanity, your wellbeing. Weigh the cost of that against the difficulty that change might require.
When engaging with people, consider the value you add to their life and they to yours. Some people will be with you for life (long-term) others for a season (short-term). Accept this mentally, understand it and don’t allow it to become a conundrum when it’s time to move on. Don’t get wrapped up thinking that you have to stay with people due to the time you’ve known them; such thoughts will make you sentimental, which will jade your emotions and thought process about moving on. There are others that want to add value to your life, but you won’t find them holding on to those that don’t.
When you know you’re in short-term environments, treat those in it as though they may become long-term associates. Doing so may turn them into long-term allies, but don’t become fixated on the thought that they’ll be with you through thick and thin. Having such a mindset will allow moving on to be less jerky. If someone stays in your life longer than what had been anticipated, because they were adding value, be thankful. You’ve been blessed … and everything will be right with the world.
What does this have to do with negotiations?
With some people, a negotiation may be transactional, not intended to be of long-term value. That’s okay. Knowing the parameters of this type of relationship allows you to be better positioned to engage in the negotiation. After all, when you negotiate, you never know who will truly fit into a long-term relationship until you examine their values. Evaluate such closely and from different perspectives. What you eventually find may not be what you initially saw, and what you initially saw may be something that you initially didn’t expect.
The point is, keep your emotions grounded in all of your relationships. Accept people for the value they add to your life, and the value you add to theirs.