“How To Read Body Language To Negotiate More Effectively”


When you negotiate do you know how to read body language? When you read body language, do you know what to observe?

The following are some examples of body language signs you can observe to negotiate more effectively.

  1. Forehead Wrinkles – When someone displays a wrinkled forehead (unnatural wrinkles) it’s a sign of stress. Thus, the absence of wrinkles is a sign of calm and easygoingness.
  2. Eyes (wide opened versus closed and narrow) – Wide-eyes indicate someone’s attentiveness, interest, and open-mindedness. A narrowing of the eyes signals a higher degree of focus on the subject, which is usually accompanied with a furled brow/forehead.
  3. Smile – A genuine smile is denoted by turned up corners of the lips.
  4. Hand movements – Hand movements give insight into the mental thoughts you’re experiencing at the moment the hand gestures are made. Thus, open hand gestures are usually displayed when someone is not fearful. When hand gestures become closed (i.e. kept close to the body, rubbing each other, rubbing other parts of the body), that’s more of a mental display of being guarded, anxious, and/or cautious. When you see such actions in others, take note of what might have brought about a change from open to close. In situations in which you seek to impress others, keep hand gestures more in an open mode and don’t make gestures that might be perceived as manic, indecisive, and/or not in rhythm with the words you speak. Doing so will detract subliminally from your likeability and persuasiveness.
  5. Feet – When the feet of two people engaged in a conversation are facing one another, the individuals are mentally engaged in their conversation. When one person turns a foot away, that’s usually the point at which that individual has mentally begun to disengage in the conversation and soon they’ll exit it in that direction.
  6. Touching – The degree you touch someone and where you touch them conveys a sense of familiarity. Thus, you should be mindful of what someone might perceive as too much familiarity per you touching them too much. To gain insight as to whether you’re touching too much, take note to what degree the person you’re touching flinches and/or slightly pulls away/back when you touch them. That’s a nonverbal sign that you may have overstepped a boundary. Pay very close attention to such feedback. It will be the gauge from which you’ll gain insight per how well you’re being received.
  7. Voice Inflection – Since 80% and more of your message is conveyed nonverbally, take note of how your words can possess different meanings based on the way you announce them. Thus, note the inflection and tonality you convey with them. Ending a sentence on a high note can turn a statement into a question, which could make you appear less authoritative than what you intended.

All of the above body language and nonverbal gestures impact the perception of the words you use to represent your thoughts. Thus, the meaning of your words can be altered by the body language signals that accompany them. As such, you should be very mindful of the signals you send to make your body language work for you and not against you… and everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating!