In your negotiations, reading body language accurately will give you a huge advantage. So, what body language gestures should you observe to gain that advantage?
This article answers that question and allows you to enhance your negotiation efforts.
Create Foundation to Accurately Read Body Language:
Since everyone’s body language can differ from others, you need to know how the person with whom your negotiating will act in a given situation. To assess this, observe how that individual acts/reacts in what’s normal for her; do this when the person is in a nonthreatening environment. Note her hand gestures, eye movement, word selection/usage, tone of speech, and general disposition. From this observation you’ll be able to compare her future displays and determine to what degree she may or may not be enamored with your offer.
Hand gestures can give great insight into someone’s mind. To gain that perspective, observe if someone pulls their hands towards them when they’re speaking, compared to pushing their hands away. Pulling their hands towards them indicates something they want, versus moving their hands away, indicating something they don’t want.
Movement of eyes:
The movement of someone’s eyes denotes their thought process and how they’re weighing information. As an example, if you ask someone what occurred in the past, most will look up and to the left. If you ask about their future perspective, most will look up and to the right. After you’ve established the foundation for how someone uses their eye movement, you’ll have inside clues to the thoughts they’re contemplating when you pose an offer/counteroffer, based on what they do with their eyes.
Tone, Pace, Word Choice:
Always be cognizant of the tone, pace, and word choices that the other negotiator uses to convey information. As an example, if she has a monotone nature to her voice and later it becomes lilting and animated, during the latter she’s displaying excitement. When she’s in the latter state, that’s the optimum time to put forth your offer.
When she decreases the pace at which she’s speaking, she’s going into reflective mode (i.e. giving more thought/consideration to the topic). At the point she quickens her pace, she’s imagining how beneficial your proposal might be.
The word choices she uses (e.g. I think it might work vs. I know that’ll work), can also be used as a mile maker to assess and determine the viability of her accepting your offer. Thus, you must heighten your awareness of such usage.
Always pay close attention to someone’s disposition and avoid negotiations when their disposition is low. If you sense someone’s disposition lowering during the negotiation, state what you’re sensing and seek their feedback. If they confirm a lowering in their disposition, ask why it’s so. Once you have that insight, choose your next steps cautiously. You don’t want to negotiate when someone is in that mental state. Also know some negotiators will use the display of a lower disposition as a ploy.
The suggestions mentioned above are simplistic, meaning there’s a lot more depth in which you need to engage to become more proficient at accurately reading and interpreting body language.
Suffice it to say, to the degree you’re accurate when reading someone’s body language, you’ll increase the probability of achieving the goals you’ve set for the negotiation… and everything will be right with the world.
Remember, you’re always negotiating!