“Before confronting someone’s biases, know the sources of their beliefs.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert (Click to Tweet)
“To Confront Biases Better – Know How To Empower Truth“
No matter if you’re negotiating (you’re always negotiating) or in the most serene environment you can imagine, biases confront you. They appear in the form of how others treat you, think about you, and what they say to other people about you. Even if they don’t know you, sometimes they’ve prejudged you based on the biases they have about you. Thus, you should anticipate how people will engage you and how you’ll address them before entering into their domain. You should also do so during the interaction you have with them. That’s especially true when doing so may enhance or prevent opportunities that might await you. One way to do that is to empower the truth as your aide. That means confronting them with the facts of reality. But as we know, some people create alternative realities as their truth. Thus, you should also be astute about the following.
When people speak, their words represent the thoughts they’re having. Therefore, if someone makes a Freudian slip (e.g., I think John is great – when they meant to say Bob), the ‘slip’ discloses what was residing in their unconscious mind. And thus, their statement reveals their hidden sentiments about John, not Bob. While they may think Bob is great, too, John is more prominent in their mind. That means the person has higher thoughts about John. And that can prove to be valuable information.
So, what can you do with this information? You can silently thank that person for revealing their real sentiments, knowing that you’ve uncovered their true feelings. Or, you can ask him why he called one name when he meant another (do that while observing how he responds to your query). Note if he becomes frustrated, exasperated, or unnerved? If so, you’ve more than likely probed deeper into beliefs that he’d rather not have exposed. If you believe his bias lacks fairness, and you think it’s appropriate, confront him about it. While doing so, leave room for him to become empowered. Do that by offering him truthful information about his opinion, and back it up with proof. Then, note to what degree, if any, he alters his perspective. His response and altered disposition will lend insight into the type of mindset you’re dealing with, which will allow you to assess the degree of time you’ll exhaust in altering his views. In some cases, it’ll be better to move on. For you, per him, the opinion of the dead can’t be changed.
Body Language Gestures That Might Indicate Biases
While body language gestures can convey an array of sentiments, those that follow indicate a dislike for one in the presence of another.
Nose – The upturned wrinkling of one’s nose indicates that a person finds something unpleasant. If the gesture occurs when you enter that person’s environment, he’s signaling displeasure with you. And it’s most likely revealing a bias the person possesses about you.
Mouth – If you observe one corner of someone’s mouth momentarily turning upward, he’s displaying a signal of contempt. That means he’s disgusted by something he perceives about you. If it occurs multiple times when you speak or when you enter his environment, take note of the action. He may not be aware of it consciously, but he’s signaling his bias. And that’s information you can use.
Click here to watch a brief video about disgust.
Feet – When people are in small groups, and they’re facing one another, their feet will point towards the most thought-provoking person. Not only is it a way to gain insight into whom they may admire at that time, but it also gives insight into the thoughts that others accept. And that can become a barometer as to how well your sentiments will be received. Thus, if they ignore you, the indication might be that you’re not presenting value per the discussion. It might also indicate that others don’t perceive you as being up to their level. Regardless, be mindful of what’s occurring. And, assess how you’ll use that insight to identify why others might be displaying a bias towards you.
While these gestures don’t necessarily have to indicate a definitive bias, they can give you insight per where one’s thought may lie about you. If you’re unsure of one’s intent, test them. Do that by observing their response to others in the environment, whom they gravitate to, and the views of those that they accept. That information will give you additional insight, which may serve as confirmation about that person’s perspective.
No matter the environment, expect biases to be part of it. Thus, to help yourself, be observant about the body language of others, and adopt procedures to overcome the prejudices they may have about you. The insights mentioned will allow you to do just that.
When using these insights, know that exposing someone to the truth about their beliefs may cause them to reject you. But when confronted by practical information, unless they don’t want to accept your premise due to their biases, they will be left to look foolish. And that will leave them out of step with reality. If that’s so, it may be the best place to dispense of them – move on. Don’t waste your time with them. The people that accept your premise will be the individuals that display an open mind. They’ll also be the ones that’ll aide you most in your quest. And everything will be right with the world.
Remember, you’re always negotiating!
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