"How To Be More Powerful Through Body Language" – Negotiation Tip of the Week

As he walked into the room, his body language said, I’ve arrived – hear the trumpets roar. Everyone turned and looked at him. His gaping stride gave the appearance of him gliding around the room.

Yes, he exuded confidence. He displayed it through his bright-broad smile, shoulders held back, and head held high. And then it happened! He began to speak. Some in attendance later said, his voice was like an angelic choir singing in perfect harmony. And his body language gestures and words were in perfect alignment. Attendees erupted with an outpouring of emotions. They couldn’t contain themselves. Yes – he oozed power. Others wanted to get closer to touch his hand, his jacket, or to receive recognition from him.

So, what did he do to cast such a powerful image? Several factors added to his veneer. After observing and incorporating the following body language gestures, others will perceive you as a power source too.

Indecision:

Some people enter environments and appear caught in a vortex of uncertainty. They show it through their body language first without ever uttering a word.

To portray confidence, never compress your body into itself (e.g., shoulders slumped, eyes cast downward to the floor, slow pace when walking). Such gestures message others that you lack depth and self-assuredness. That demeanor would be beneficial if you wish to convey a lack of assuredness to your negotiation opponent. And that role would have to be in alignment with your strategy for the negotiation.

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Vulnerability:

Do you know when you feel most vulnerable? It’s worth noting. Because when you sense exposure, you’ll display nonverbal behavior that shows in your body language. When you feel threatened, assess its source.

If you know you’ll enter into an environment that may cause you angst, plan the nonverbal gestures you’ll invoke to enhance your persona. Do so to emit confidence. As an example, you might consider smiling more than you usually do, be more open to being engaged and engaging in conversations, and speaking more while using hand gestures to highlight your words. Casting such an image will make you appear to possess more confidence. It will also serve as a deterrent to those who would challenge you if you seemed to be weak.

Body Language Gestures To Observe:

  • Smile – People that smile, at the appropriate time, display a lack of concern about their wellbeing. This gesture also suggests that the person is open and approachable. When someone flashes a smile during times of adversity, it can cause a potential threat barer to question his intent. He’ll wonder why you’re not displaying fear.
  • Walking Stride – People walking at a brisk pace with a wide gap indicate that they’re ‘on the move.’ They have a destination in mind. Contrast this against the individual that shuffles upon a path. The signal is, they’re not in a hurry. Use the appropriate pace for the image you want to send.
  • Hand Movement – Like other body language movement, hands should be synchronized with the words pronounced. But, someone’s hand motions can occur a moment or two before their words. Hand movement can also indicate the beginning of aggression (e.g., closing into fists and opening again). Thus, to show you’re not afraid, do so by displaying palms up. To add to the display, splay your fingers too.
  • Pace of Speech – Nervous People tend to talk too fast and too much. Thus, you can use this act to gauge how calm someone is. And, to convey more power when you speak, do so at a pace associated with what the listener perceives as someone exerting influence.
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Whatever the environment you’re in, by controlling your body language and observing that of others, you can become better perceived as being more powerful. Therefore, once you master the techniques mentioned, the perception of your power will become heightened… and everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating!

Listen to Greg’s podcast at https://anchor.fm/themasternegotiator

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by Greg Williams