“This Is Rare Advice On How To Use Colors To Win More Negotiations” – Negotiation Tip of the Week

“In negotiation, things may not always be black or white, but color always impacts negotiations.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert (Click to Tweet)

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“This Is Rare Advice On How To Use

Colors To Win More Negotiations”

People don’t realize they’re always negotiating.

Are you aware of how colors affect your perception, the perception others have of you, and your interaction with them during negotiations? Colors in negotiation can be like bitter-sweet mind-candy to the proceedings. One minute you are experiencing a subliminal mind lift, the next, you feel downtrodden. And you are not sure why you have experienced those sensations. It is because colors influence your perception, actions, and those with whom you negotiate.

So, do you think it would be nice to understand the power colors have on your negotiation and how you might negotiate better by knowing how to use color in your talks? If so, prepare your color palette and discover how to use them to enhance your negotiation efforts.

The Negotiation Proceedings

He sat in the negotiation adorned in a purple outfit – purple hat, purple shirt, purple suit, purple socks, and purple shoes. At first, the other negotiators did not know what to make of him or his attire.

What type of individual do you think might dress in that manner for negotiation and why?

First, a negotiator can gain insight into someone’s preferences based on their preferred colors. Specific colors will beckon the subliminal attention of individuals based on their value perspective. And sometimes, that will extend from their earlier life years.

As to the answer to what individual you think might dress in that manner, I leave you to decide. In so doing, you will be disclosing your preferences regarding how colors might motivate you.

Why Colors Have Meaning

We apply different meanings to colors due to the society in which we live. For example, in parts of the Americas, when someone passes away, the color black is assigned to the loss as people pay their respects to the departed, while in Chinese cultures, the color is white. While colors can convey different meanings, depending on the environment, the colors mentioned can become a reference to death in the minds of negotiators negotiating in those cultures.

Colors also represent a sense that stimulates a negotiator’s senses. Thus, negotiators must always be mindful of the message they send with the colors they wear. They should also seek to relate their color choices based on how they wish to be perceived.

The lesson is to be aware of how colors impact the other negotiator. Therein will lie a hidden advantage.  

The Impact of Colors On Negotiation

You may still wonder why colors influence your perception and how doing so impacts your negotiation efforts. The answer is as simplistic as it is complicated. Let me explain.

When you describe an overcast day, what words do you use – dark, gloomy, dreadful. Now, think of a day when the sun is bursting with brightness. How do you describe it – sunny, brilliant, a day full of possibilities? You are thinking in colors – not to say anything about the mood you experience when doing so.

Based on the presence of colors, your mood, attitude, and spirit are affected. And that is what occurs during negotiation. You become motivated in one direction versus another based on how colors influence and stimulate your actions.

How To Determine The Best Colors For Your Negotiation

Depending on the stakes of the negotiation, the negotiation environment, and with whom you are negotiating, you should use various color combinations. And based on the length and direction of the talks, you might consider different color combinations based on the type of negotiator against whom you are competing. The following are a few scenarios to consider the color choices you might use.

Negotiation Scenario # 1

You find yourself negotiating against a highly aggressive negotiator – they may even be a bully. Wear burnt orange, red and dark blue to combat their aggressiveness through colors. Red will subliminally make you more aggressive. The opposing negotiator will perceive you to be more dominant, too. 

Negotiation Scenario # 2

You will be negotiating with a negotiator that wants to go along to get along; they are willing to follow your lead. To make this person feel more comfortable and allay fears that you might take advantage of them, wear warm colors – light blue, green, yellow, and white.

Negotiation Scenario # 3

You want your negotiation counterpart to perceive you as someone to take seriously. It can occur when you are negotiating with someone older than yourself or with whom you have less status. Consider wearing combinations of red, blue, purple, and white in such situations. Those colors will enhance your appearance with the spectrum of authority.


During negotiation, colors impact negotiators’ perceptions and actions. And their maneuvers will alter based on the perception shift they assign to different colors. That means if a negotiator associates the color blue with the ocean, swimming, happiness, and fun – and an accident occurs while they are in that environment – they may no longer associate that color with their prior feelings.

Thus, if you seek to enhance your negotiation skills, it would behoove you to understand how to advantage your negotiations based on your use of colors. Once you become adept at doing so, you will increase your negotiation outcomes. And everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating! 

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