Role of Body Language in Business Negotiation

I believe you always desire the best in your business negotiations. I know that you want to achieve your negotiation goals and objectives, and have winning scenarios. Aren’t these your negotiation aspirations? For a start, we know that body language is the unspoken or non-verbal mode of communication. It comprises the poise, feel, movement of hands and objects, smiles and frowns, eye contact and numerous other gestures and wordless cues that we exhibit during communications. In real life situations, the greater part of the messages that we convey to other people are transmitted through body language. Now, what is the value of body language in business negotiation?

  • Body language is part of emotional intelligence. It relates to the heart. The heart and the head are two minds – the emotional and rational. These two minds operate together and you need to appeal to both to win negotiations.
  • You can attune and connect to people you are negotiating with through body language. You can successfully establish a sense of rapport and later a good flow of discussion by matching body patterns. Haven’t you ever felt that emphatic accuracy that makes you understand people’s thoughts, feelings and intentions? Are you able to recognize and respond fittingly to people’s feelings and concerns? The answer partly lies in your ability to read and interpret this language.
  • During business negotiations you may unknowingly send wrong signals to people through your non-verbal communication. For example, you may manifest absence, lack of authority and confidence, deceit etc and these may negatively affect negotiations. People can also know when you are hiding something. What do people read in your gestures?
  • Similarly, by reading and understanding the other team’s mode you can get signals being sent to you. For instance, they may be signaling to you that they have tabled their best offer, or alternatively they are thinking or possibly need reassurance from you. Do you know that a simple thing like being time barred is clearly manifested through body language? You can even read the urgency to conclude the deal and this can give you a negotiating leverage. Now, if you can’t make use of these then you may not be a good negotiator.
  • You can successfully see and diffuse stalemates in business negotiations through the use of non-verbal communication. Don’t you think so? When you notice stalemate-causing tension building up by the way people are sitting and avoiding eye contact, for example, you can initiate a shift in sitting which most likely will be followed by the others. Through such wise approaches you can diffuse stalemates and continue negotiating.
  • You can also deploy the art of body language to persuade and influence people. You can also develop trust and confidence through the same.
  • Proper reading of this communication mode can also enable you know when you have crossed safely guarded and preserved boundaries. You may then need to exercise more courtesy and slow down on some aspects. When negotiating with people from different cultures for example, certain signs are red flags of cultural mistakes.
  • You can also use body language to manifest and confirm fairness and consideration of the interest of both parties in your negotiations. Through this you can also know when your partners are happy with the deal, can’t you? In negotiation, if you don’t work for a win-win situation you will eventually lose.

To be a winning negotiator you have to deploy the above techniques. These issues even go beyond an individual in the negotiating team. All team members need to understand and appreciate the above principles. I believe you agree with me, don’t you?

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Till then,

Clayton Mwaka