“This Is How To Stop Bad Behavior With Pattern Interrupts And Body Language” – Negotiation Insight

“Pattern Interrupts, through body language, occurs instantaneously. The proof is in the new emotional state one finds one’s self in after it occurs.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert (click to Tweet)

Click here to get the book!

“This Is How To Stop Bad Behavior With

Pattern Interrupts And Body Language”

People don’t realize they’re always negotiating.

Have you considered how body language impacts the perception of someone’s actions? Most people don’t give it a second thought – but they should. Because body language can be the hidden source of the pattern interrupts that alters someone’s behavior. And someone that lacks the awareness of pattern interrupts may not realize how someone else is manipulating them. The following is how you can use and rebut bad behavior through body language pattern interruptions in your daily life.

Pattern Interruption Definition

A pattern interruption is an action that alters the current behavior of someone. Thus, someone can use interruptions on themselves and others. The most effective usage occurs when a situation requires modification because one doesn’t want to sustain the current course of action.

Body Language’s Role In Pattern Interruptions

Many years ago, I recalled a passenger asking the flight attendant for an extra bag of chips on a flight. She smiled at him and said, no. Then, she quickly walked away. I observed the man turning to his traveling companion, chuckling, and stating, “that’s the nicest feeling I’ve ever had when someone denied my request.”

In that situation, the flight attendant used a preemptive pattern interrupt, the smile. Then, before the passenger fully realized what had occurred, his request was being denied, she walked away. That’s the role that body language plays in interrupting patterns. It adds an extra dimension to actions and alters behavior.    

Preemptive Pattern Interrupts

You see preemptive pattern interrupts in the form of a smile or frown depending on someone signaling their approachability, displeasure, or agreement with current events. Thus, you already use such techniques to cast your thoughts to others. But you can do so more strategically if you’re more aware of when and how to project your persona.

To cast a lack of approachability or displeasure, you can:

1. Cross your arms – when people see this body language gesture, they perceive it to imply the person displaying it is not open to current activities. In reality, the way and when you cross your arms, along with accompanying gestures, sends more of a message than just crossing your arms. That’s because the more images you cast that aligned with your leading nonverbal gesture, the more your message resonates with the person perceiving it.

2. Display Intense or defused eye focus – When someone focuses intently on another individual, the messaging can be welcoming or perceived as menacing. If someone intends to indicate a non-welcoming meaning, they can enhance their intent by slightly widening their eyes and lowing their head. Not only does the lowing of one’s head slightly signal inner self-defense, but the widening of the eyes also suggest that their more focused on the individual to whom they’re signaling. Those gestures coupled together sends a silent screaming message that states, I’m not aligned with you. Keep your distance.   

Using Pattern Interrupts

Now that you have more insights about pattern interruptions, how might you use them with your body language gestures to add more meaning and sway other people’s perspectives?

1. As a kid, when my sister and I got “out of hand,” our mother gave us a stern look, and we immediately ceased our activities. Consider when you can provide a fierce look to assist the projection of your message. Plus, consider how you can add other gestures to enhance your attention’s seriousness and the degree you wish it to change. The cliché that comes to mind is, a picture is worth a thousand words. Project the right persona, and you won’t have to utter a word.

2. You can use pattern interrupts to block someone’s efforts to use them against you. They’re several ways you can alter someone’s perspective about using pattern interrupts against you.

  • If they’re frowning, you can smile. If the other person is speaking loudly, you can speak softly. While speaking doesn’t come under the heading of body language, the tenor and tone in which you convey a message adds to its perception. Thus, if you counter actions with its counterpart, the contrarian action will cause the other person to wonder why you’re smiling or speaking softly. And that’s the point. If you can inject a contrary action into the mix of gestures displayed between you and another person, your contrarian action will serve as a pattern interrupt.
  • I remember the time when two negotiators were negotiating, and one became overly boisterous and animated. The animated negotiator was standing, flailing his arms and ranting about the injustice of an offer the other negotiator had made. Meanwhile, the opposing negotiator remained seated.

After several moments of the ranting negotiator’s antics, the seated negotiator said, thank you. He did so in a very calm, non-threatening voice. The ranting negotiator sat down, calmed himself, and the negotiation continued without further outbursts. That’s the value of using a rebuttal pattern interrupt in your daily activities. You can alter someone’s behavior and gain control of situations that might otherwise get out of control.


Body language shapes the perception that others have of us and the perceptions we have about them. When you use body language to alter someone’s behavior through pattern interrupts, a dynamism occurs that can infuse your actions with a sense of heightened power. That power can shape, reshape, or add additional meaning to your words and others’ responses. And sometimes, someone’s body language may completely override the intent of their words.

To that end, it would help if you always were mindful of the body language signals you emit. Sometimes, they may cause pattern interruptions to occur in a manner that’s not your intent. So, always be aware of the nonverbal messages you emit and the effect they’re having. If you control better your body language, you’ll control others’ actions and reactions better. And everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating!

Listen to Greg’s podcast at https://c-suitenetwork.com/radio/shows/greg-williams-the-master-negotiator-and-body-language-expert-podcast/

After reading this article, what are you thinking? I’d like to know. Reach me at Greg@TheMasterNegotiator.com

To receive Greg’s free “Negotiation Tip of the Week” and the “Negotiation Insight,” click here https://themasternegotiator.com/greg-williams/

#PatternInterrupts #c-suitenetwork #thoughtcouncil #Negotiator #NegotiatingWithABully #Bodylanguage #readingbodylanguage #Negotiation #NegotiationStrategies #NegotiationProcess #NegotiationSkillsTraining #NegotiationExamples #NegotiationTypes #negotiationPsychology #HowToNegotiateBetter #ReadingBodyLanguage #BodyLanguage #Nonverbal #Negotiate #Business #SmallBusiness #Power #Perception #emotionalcontrol #relationships #BodyLanguageExpert #CSuite #TheMasterNegotiator #ControlEmotions #GregWilliams #success #Howtowinmore #self-improvement #howtodealwithdifficultpeople #Self-development #Control #Conversations #Howtocontrolanegotiation #howtobesuccessful #HowToImproveyourself

Scroll to Top