Negotiating successfully is all about arguing and defending our interests in the right way. Body language is a key element whose command is a challenge in that it can determine the outcome of a negotiation. Take good note of these tips to improve your nonverbal communication:
1. Mirror the other person
Look at the body language of the other person and try to adopt their same tone and behavior. This is the ‘mirroring’ technique; try to imitate others so as to favor a situation of trust. If our interlocutors lean forward, that will show connection and understanding. If they don’t, and they lean backwards or cross their arms instead, you must try to restore harmony and ask them what the cause of their upset is, as those are gestures denoting discontent.
2. Nod and keep eye contact
Nodding and keeping eye contact is essential to reduce tension and build relationships, even if you are in the middle of a disagreement or harsh criticism. There are many aspects of body language that can spoil a negotiation, but hesitant eye contact is the most damaging one. “The eyes are the windows to the soul” is a saying also applicable to communication: when you avoid eye contact, you are showing unease and lack of confidence, which translates into a burden for any negotiator.
3. Pay attention to your hands
Your hands should show confidence and calmness. If you are in the middle of a negotiation, you must avoid showing a feeling of restlessness (if you put your hands together too often). The best you can do is to keep your hands in a natural position to convey tranquility.
4. Relax your body
Even in intense negotiations, it is important to keep a relaxed body position to help you relieve tension. Add to that a soft and non-aggressive tone of voice to build trust and favor effectiveness in negotiations.
5. Don’t forget to smile
It is highly likely that we will try to build long-term relationships in a negotiation. In the Merchants negotiation course, emphasis is placed on these types of relationships, to be built on friendly and sincere foundations. Smiling and showing a natural and transparent attitude is essential for the agreement to succeed.
How do you get to be successful in negotiations?
Image: Kev-Shine / Flickr