Body Language in Face-to-Face Negotiations

Body language is a non verbal way of communicating and during face to face negotiations. And it can speak miles. When we talk about communication, the first medium that comes to mind is our use of words. It is what has always separated us from other species. As we’ve developed a more intellectual and definite way of relaying our thoughts to one another.

Not to mention opposing thumbs. As we use language everyday, it evolves every passing moment, adapting to our ever changing culture, popular trends and international influences.

Body Language to Convey Messages

While speech is the most commonly used means of communication, it still pales in authenticity compared to body language. This is precisely why when we say one thing, our movements can give our true feelings away. Even the tone of voice greatly affects how the other perceives the information.

Sometimes our body language tells a different story and can change the desired message. More often than not, a mere gesture is a lot louder than the spoken word.

The Influence The Unspoken Word

If anything, the influence of body language dates as far back as our primitive period. Known as the unspoken word, body language can be used for complete communication. Before we even created words, all we had to use were expressions and movements to communicate.

The benefits go both ways, as we are able to communicate our own thoughts and feelings while others are able to understand us better and react to it. This is probably the reason why a slight shift in position says a lot more than words, and it still is true today.

Non Verbal Communication in Business

This being said, such non-verbal communication is essential in everyday discourse, and a face-to-face negotiation is no exception. As a matter of fact, such cues could make or break the interaction and the deal altogether.

Here are some pointers to remember when sending out subtle signals.

  • In a personal interaction, the first impression is always what lasts. This is why confidence at the onset should be of paramount importance.
  • You can show this to the other party by standing tall with shoulders back, maintain a serious yet friendly eye contact.
  • Speak slowly and clearly with a moderate tone of voice, and remain purposeful with your gestures. Slouching, fidgeting, and talking in a fast paced manner are telltale signs of unpreparedness, so you should be conscious that you avoid them.

Defensiveness is also easily seen, and you must react to it accordingly. Some signs of uneasiness can be:

  • When you see the gestures are limited to a small space near the body. 
  • Minimal facial expressions
  • Body turning away from the other party
  • Crossed arms
  • Lack of eye contact.

How to Handle Hostile Body Language

When you see these cues in the other person, it is time to adjust the way you communicate to make them feel comfortable and be more receptive. On the other hand, if these are things that you are doing, you need to quickly change your posture. Otherwise you may end up sending the wrong signals.

How To Show Colleagues You are Thinking

Answering questions need not be prompt. You may show the other person that you are thinking intently, and that’s a positive thing.

This can be demonstrated by

  • Finger stroking on chin
  • Hand to cheek
  • Head tilted with eyes looking up

These gestures don’t mean you don’t know what to say, but rather that you want to ponder on matters before jumping in.

As always, every person is different, but these are some of the most common indications. Being observant with your own body language is a key skill that you will need to be an effective communicator.

Leave a Comment