By Greg Williams
Negotiators give hidden clues per what’s really on their minds by the words and gestures they use to convey their thoughts. To win more negotiations, unlock your awareness of hidden clues, and increase your level of awareness per what’s said, how it’s said, and the body language accompanying thoughts introduced during the negotiation.
Those hidden clues will give you the sense of direction to adopt for the negotiation, along with peeks of insights into the opposing negotiator’s strategy. Consider the following:
Pace: Be aware of the pace at which the other negotiator speaks. In particular, be mindful of when he accelerates and deaccelerates his speech. Therein will lie clues to the deliberateness he applied to the offers and counteroffers he makes, which will also give you clues to his initial strategy per how he planned to engage in the negotiation.
Word Choice: Be mindful of the words used by the other negotiator and the meaning of those words per how he’s using them. Since the same word can have a different meaning to people, you must understand the intent being implied based on the words used by the other negotiator. You should also be mindful per how he’s measuring his words (e.g. pain can be implied by saying, “I’m experiencing discomfort with your offer”, or “that doesn’t agree with me” while touching his stomach (i.e. expressing his thoughts through kinesthetic).
Word Absence: Be very aware of what’s not said. The omission of words can conceal thoughts that have a huge impact on the negotiation. If you sense the absence of a word(s)/thoughts, you might consider posing the word/thought yourself to the other negotiator. Then, observe the response per delivery (i.e. slow could imply contemplation, fast might imply no great concern and/or something that he doesn’t want to deal with), word choices used to respond (e.g. I never thought of that (while being reflective)), and demeanor (i.e. sad, happy, disturbed, etc.) Such insights could expose conjectures. Be prepared to take advantage of them.
Nonverbal Body Language:
Nervous Gestures: To detect nervousness, observe fidgeting, shifting in chair, perspiration occurring at specific times in the negotiation, and excessive rubbing of hands/eyes/arms/legs. The latter are comfort gestures indicating that the opposing negotiator is attempting to calm himself.
Confident Gestures: Steepled hands (e.g. Church steeple), normal and consistent breathing, along with non-jerky movements all indicate/projects self-assuredness. When observing these gestures note the time they last and at what point in the negotiation that they occur.
Intuition per Awareness: When experiencing intuition, our brain is signaling that it senses something that may require more attention. Since we’re bombarded by millions of minute nuances of information on a daily basis, our brain takes shortcuts to weed out information it deems unnecessary of our full attention. As such, we may not be 100% focused on auxiliary occurrences that happen around us. That’s because such sensations occur on a subliminal/subconscious level.
When we have such sensations, even though we’re not fully aware of what we’re sensing, such signals should be given more credence because they contain insights per what we’re experiencing.
As with any negotiation, the more you’re aware per what’s occurring in your environment, the more opportunities you’ll see. To increase your negotiation win rate, raise your level of awareness per the insights cited above… and everything will be right with the world.
Remember, you’re always negotiating!
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