Use Body Language and Nonverbal Communication to Identify Negotiation Styles
I glance at their feet. All you need is a glance.
Are their feet pointed away from me? It’s very possible their body is telling them to leave. They are uncomfortable.
Pointed toward me? Confrontational or comfortable. Both are fine. The scene of negotiation is typically confrontational.
Are they leaning into the conversation when I’m not? Are they showing signs of comfort, cooperation, confusion, or antagonism and hostility with that lean? The lean is a magnifier.
One of the more reliable ways to understand what type of negotiator you’re working with (and how they’re feeling about the process) is to understand non-verbal communication or body language.
Understanding, of course, that gestures and postures vary from culture to culture and must be taken in context; arms crossed during a negotiation might mean a defensive attitude. However, arms crossed during a performance might simply mean that the person is relaxed or that the air conditioner is blowing on them and they’re cold.
I typically consider cold first. I live in Minnesota.
To be skilled at negotiation, you must become a skilled observer and a good listener. Another tool to identify the type of negotiation style your associate has is to observe the tactics and larger strategies that they use during a negotiation.
Body language is a significant clue to use to identify negotiation styles, but don’t forget that you also have what they say to you as the first clue about how they’re going to approach the negotiations.
What are the Common Body Language Cues?