To Detect Lies When Negotiating Read Body Language

Liars leave tells when negotiating. During negotiations, people rarely disclose the full truth. Some like to perceive themselves as not telling the whole truth, while others state, one is not expected to divulge one’s complete position during negotiations. Strangely enough, most negotiators don’t consider themselves as lying, or being deceitful when they either alter the truth, or fail to disclose all of it.

If you’d like to become more attuned to how you can detect when someone lies and acquire more knowledge about deciphering unspoken words and gestures, you should become more astute at interpreting body language (nonverbal signals). You can increase your perceptiveness at the negotiation table by observing the body language of the other negotiator during negotiations. To gain insight into body language gestures and gain insight into how to detect lies, read below.

1.    Facial Expressions:

  1. Eyes: When people lie, some have a difficult time maintaining eye contact. Prior to sitting at the negotiation table, take note of how the other negotiator communicates with his eyes. In particular, observe how long he maintains eye contact when you sense he’s telling the truth and contrast that to when he might be exaggerating.
  2. Mouth: When negotiators alter the truth, some will keep their hands either over their mouth or close to it. Through that gesture, they’re indicating that they’re trying to hold their words back. They do so, because the body never lies, words do.
  3. Ears: If you note a negotiator fondling his ears while making an offer or counter-offer, he’s indicating that either he’s not sure if he believes what he’s saying to be truthful, or he’s afraid you’ll have suspensions about believing it.


2.    Stave off possible defeat by watching the feet.

  1. During face-to-face negotiations, observe the direction in which the other negotiator’s feet are pointing. His feet will give you insight into the thoughts on his mind. If his feet are pointed towards you, through his body language he’s indicating that he’s engaged and more than not, being forthright. As his feet start to turn away from you, so will be his desire to disengage from the conversation; sense if it’s due to his alteration of the truth.

3.    Pay attention to what people don’t want to discuss.

  1. If you’re met with hesitancy when asking a question, there may be more to the answer you receive than the words convey. By listening to how the other negotiator responds to a question, you can gain insight into what might make him uncomfortable. By gaining such insight, you gain a perspective as to whether he’s trying not to disclose information, or if he’s lying. In so doing, you may have cause to delve deeper into that subject.

4.    Always be astute to what holds value with the other negotiator.

  1. If you know what has value in the eyes of the other negotiator (and haven’t haphazardly prioritized or guessed at what holds the most value), you can assess when he might lie to protect his position. In so doing, you could position yourself to forgo committing to a more valuable counter-offer. Regardless to the trade off, remember to make the other negotiator work for your concessions. Also keep in mind, you give an item value partly by the reverence you display towards it. So, when you make an offer, do so with the degree of pomp that such should warrant.

Instead of having your negotiations illuminated by hope, increase your perceptiveness throughout life and at the negotiation table, by becoming more adept at reading body language. Once you increase your knowledge of how to interpret body language, you’ll amaze yourself at how perceptive you’ll be during negotiations … and everything will be right with the world. Remember, you’re always negotiating.

 The Negotiation Tips Are …

  • In reading body language, one can’t accurately brand a single gesture as a lie. First, establish a baseline. To establish a baseline, observe the other negotiator’s gestures in a nonthreatening environment.
  • When making an offer or counter-offer, gauge by the body language of the other negotiator the value he may place on your offer.
  • By being attentive when negotiating via the phone, you can detect when lies are being told. It will usually occur in the form of a different rhythm in the other negotiator’s speech patterns.
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