Non-verbal cues for any negotiation
I must admit that I am not a great fan of the tube … in a wider sense. However, just after watching a few episodes of Samuel Baum’s 2009 hit television series ‘Lie to me’, I couldn’t help but acknowledge the fresh and provocative insight on non-verbal cues. The flick is about a Dr. Karl Liteman who builds a successful agency by merely studying micro-expressions and non-verbal cues in communications. Basically, the agency is all about identifying lies and other ‘messages’ that are hidden because they are not expressed in words.
Though entirely fictional, the insights and ideas in this television series (all based on scientific research) are revolutionary as the agency is called upon to uncover the non verbal cues in investigations and negotiations. I totally recommend it for anyone digging into the study human psychology as it is heavily based on recent findings of scientific research on body language.
In truth, everyone involved in any kind of negotiations will greatly benefit from an understanding of non-verbal cues but luckily, you do not need to delve into the study of body language. A few pointers are usually all you need. Here are a few cues:
During negotiations, getting to know the other party’s usual mannerisms, personality, and even disposition will do you half the job of understanding whatever non-verbal cues. This means you will be alert incase of any behavior that is out of the ordinary. Nevertheless, you may still be able to pick out the non-verbal cues during the negotiation.
The face and the arms are central to non-verbal communication. While the seasoned deal makers could be more adept at concealing many of their non-verbal expressions, most will give themselves up through body movements. This includes leaning away, rubbing the nose, and looking away when explaining critical areas of the deal. These are usually more of signs of deception than they are random nervous twitches. Note that some cues such as pupil dilation cannot be controlled and therefore leaves a bit of hope considering that some folks have already discovered them.
Another common non-verbal cue that might suggest a deal or negotiation is taking another turn or even falling apart is the voice variations. When the pitch and tone of the other party suddenly changes, they get overly enthusiastic or exhibit exaggerated body movements, they could be trying to put on an act of sorts. Individuals that are also known to have a bubbly demeanor suddenly acts too docile, they just could be on to something.
Finally, we are sending non-verbal cues in every interaction. Some are used to reinforce or enrich the more common verbal communications while others are replacing the entire words. This being the case, there is always the danger of misinterpretations. We must also make sure to only see what is there to see and not something else. It is always easy to let our own prejudices and rash conclusions. Also, don’t let your own attempts in establishing the non verbal cues in your negotiations work against you. While picking up these cues calls for a keen observation of the other party, don’t throw a cold stare at the folks in the negotiating room.