“Using Body Language New Advice How To Win Future Negotiations” – Negotiation Tip of the Week

“What is not said can be more important than words convey when someone’s body language is speaking.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert (Click to Tweet)

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“Using Body Language – New Advice How To Win Future Negotiations”

People don’t realize they’re always negotiating.

Negotiations occur daily in personal and professional settings, and one enhances that process via body language. Thus, effective negotiation skills and the ability to read body language can lead to more mutually beneficial outcomes for all parties involved.

Accordingly, body language is critical to a successful negotiation, as nonverbal communication can often convey more meaning than words alone. Here are some tips on how to use body language to win future negotiations.

Confidence Is Key

Confidence is crucial in any negotiation. And during negotiating, a negotiator can convey it through body language. To do so, stand up straight, make eye contact, and use open, expansive gestures to show that you are sure of yourself and your position. Avoid crossed arms or fidgeting when possible. It can signal a lack of credibility, insecurity, or discomfort.

Use Mirroring To Enhance Your Likeability

Mirroring is the act of consciously mimicking the body language and movements of the person with whom you are interacting. That can create rapport and make the other person feel more comfortable and receptive to your ideas, offers, and counteroffers. However, be sure to use mirroring subtly, as overt mimicry can appear insincere or manipulative, dampening your ability to connect deeper.

Your Facial Expressions

Your facial expressions can reveal a lot about your thoughts and emotions during negotiations, revealing your innermost hidden ideas and what may motivate you to take action. So you must be aware of them during a negotiation. Smiling and maintaining a positive, open expression can make you seem more approachable and trustworthy. On the other hand, frowning or scowling can make you seem unapproachable or confrontational.

So, be aware of the signals you send via the facial expressions you display. They will impact the present negotiation. They will also affect your future talks because you will have set the foundation for someone you have negotiated with in the past per how they can interpret those expressions in the future.

Use Hand Gestures Wisely

 Hand gestures can be a powerful way to emphasize a point or make a connection with another person. However, be sure to use them sparingly and avoid overly aggressive or dominating gestures because a negotiator can perceive some hand gestures as threatening signals that are the prelude to confrontation.

A few hand gestures to avoid, unless you intend to cast a particular meaning, are:

1. Pointing a menacing finger at someone

2. Swinging the back of your hand at someone as to be dismissive

3. Turning palms down while expressing favorability to something

4. Holding palms up and facing outward while stating that you are in agreement

5. Stabbing a finger in the air or downward

With all of those gestures, committing them can be perceived by someone, consciously or subliminally, as threatening movements, which may indicate the opposite of what you state through your words. And unknowingly, you may be setting yourself up as someone that sends mixed messages in future negotiations.

Maintain Appropriate Distance

The distance between you and the person you negotiate with can communicate critical nonverbal information. Standing too close can invade that person’s personal space and make them uncomfortable. And if you stand too far away, you can create a sense of indifference, having you appear distant and disconnected.

Try to maintain an appropriate distance for comfortable conversations to occur and maintain eye contact if you wish the opposition to perceive you as being more open and warm. You can note the level of comfort the other negotiator has with you based on their reactions to the distance you maintain with them. Be mindful that you are setting mile-markers in their mind for how you will interact in the future.

Pay Attention To Tone And Pace

Your tone of voice and speaking pace convey important information during a negotiation. A calm, measured tone can indicate confidence and authority. In contrast, a rushed or anxious tone can signal insecurity or a lack of preparation, leading the other negotiator to perceive you as weak. Similarly, speaking too slowly can make you seem unsure or indecisive. Speaking too quickly can make you appear anxious or rushed.

To judge what the best tone and pace should be, let the conveyance of your mood dictate the tonality and speed you use. That will allow your counterpart to perceive your message as aligned with your words and body language.  

Use Silence Effectively

Silence can be a powerful tool in a negotiation, as it can create tension and encourage the other person to speak or fill the void. However, be sure to use it sparingly and only in appropriate situations, as prolonged silence can also become perceived as a sign of disinterest or disrespect.


In every negotiation you are in, consider it the setup for the next one you will have, even if it is not with the same person. Stated another way, since you are always negotiating, what you do today impacts tomorrow’s discussions. Thus, to better position yourself for future negotiations, you must become more aware of how your body language affects current interactions.  

By being aware of your own body language and the nonverbal cues of those with whom you negotiate, you can effectively communicate your position and create a more positive and productive negotiation experience. Accordingly, using these tips can increase your chances of winning future negotiations, achieving mutually beneficial outcomes, along with making future negotiations more straightforward. And everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating! 

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