How Are You Perceived When You’re Negotiating? – 5 Key Body Language Tips
You’ve done your due diligence and gathered the relevant data and you’ve identified your BATNA (Best Alternative To A Negotiated Agreement) in case it doesn’t go well. However, you can still undermine your best efforts if you don’t pay attention to what your body is saying.
Even before we speak, we are transmitting volumes of information about ourselves, our personality, behaviour style, stress levels and so much more. Our posture, facial expressions, pace and breathing patterns are all revealing. Any inconsistent elements can weaken our position, especially if they are not congruent with our words, tonality and syntax.
Here are 5 practical tips, which taken as a cohesive whole facilitate us presenting from a position of strength – even if on paper we appear to hold a weaker hand.
1. Allow your breathing to become slow and deep. Stand tall and relax your neck and shoulders.
2. Practice your full Duchenne smile – the one that reaches the eyes – and use it when meeting your counterpart(s).
3. Enter the room at an easy relaxed pace and survey the room as you enter.
When combined these 3 points lower your blood pressure, calm your mind and allow you to present as being confident. Smiling allows you to be seen as amiable and more willing to do business. When we present as being confident, we are generally perceived as competent.
4. Make direct eye contact – for up to a maximum of 30 seconds – smile and offer a firm handshake. Be alert to the type of handshake you receive as this provides you with information about the personality of your counterpart.
5. If you’re comfortable using your hands when you speak do so, but make clear decisive gestures. Avoid making them too rapidly as this can distract attention from your message. True leaders will typically used short rather than wide hand gestures.
Here’s a bonus point which is often underestimated:
6. Be comfortable sitting in silence and allow space for your counterpart to speak. If used appropriately silence is a powerful tool and will often result in your counterpart revealing more than they had intended.