Strategies: Putting It All Together - Body Language Secrets to Win More Negotiations - Greg Williams, Pat Iyer

Body Language Secrets to Win More Negotiations - Greg Williams, Pat Iyer (2016)

Chapter 10. Strategies: Putting It All Together

As the other negotiators entered the room, Mike Kim observed their body language. “Jose Mendez looks nervous. He won’t make eye contact, and he keeps clicking the top of his pen,” he thought. “Gary Porter radiates confidence. He is smiling broadly and looking around the room.” Mike took charge of the meeting by outlining the value of the business he wanted to sell. Jose made notes and asked questions from the list he prepared ahead of time. Gary wrote no notes, but he glanced at Jose’s notes when asking questions. Mike watched their facial expressions. When he saw puzzlement, he clarified his presentation. When he sensed he was presenting too much information, he backed off and slowed down. At the end of the session, they had a deal.

Controlling Signals

Your ability to control your signals can have a profound impact on a negotiation. Jose sent a signal that he was nervous. Although his nervousness made him alert, it also could be used against him by the opponent who perceived him as stressed. Contrast that with how Gary was open, relaxed, and acted as though he had not a care in the world. The message he sent was, “If we get the deal, great. If we don’t get the deal, we’ll live.” Jose sent a signal that was the exact opposite; he projected the image of needing the deal. A savvy negotiator needs to be concerned about controlling the verbal and nonverbal signals that he sends in a negotiation because they set the tone for the negotiation.

The body language signals you convey through your body language and what you say at the beginning influence what happens during the negotiation. They set the tone for what follows. An astute negotiator observes your body language to draw conclusions about how you feel at the beginning of the negotiation and watches how your signals change based on the discussion and the offers being made.

Misleading Body Language

I just said you should match your body language with your desires. At times, you may deliberately mislead your opponent through using body language signals that do not represent what you are thinking or feeling. For example, you might project happiness with an offer he’s put on the table even though you may sense it’s detrimental to your position. You would watch to see what he might do next then, all of a sudden, change your body language to express displeasure with the offer. Your opponent will be confused and ask himself: “Hey, wait a minute; what exactly is this guy trying to do? What is he really seeking from the negotiation?”

When you use body language, not only do you have to be astutely aware of why you’re doing it, you also have to be very astutely aware of how you are being perceived.

Suppose Gary intentionally came into the negotiation room radiating confidence, smiling broadly, and looking around the room while appearing to be completely relaxed. His deliberate signal was, “I don’t have a care in the world. This negotiation can come about successfully or not. I have a backup position. I’m going through the motions here. I’m just granting you the privilege of spending time with me.”

By projecting a carefree image, Gary is preventing his opponent from understanding his interest in the deal. He could leave Mike wondering, “Does this guy really want this deal? I wonder if I’m wasting my time. How will he react the way I try to influence him based on my strategy? Will I have to make some big concessions to get him interested?”

Mike should definitely observe how Gary’s demeanor is altered as they go throughout the negotiation. How do Gary’s body language and statements change based on the offers and counteroffers? And to what degree are they aligned with his strategy?

Measuring Progress with Observations

Make an assessment as to how well the negotiation is progressing based on what you thought would occur at different points in the negotiation. Contrast body language and the strategies that have and have not occurred with offers that your opponent accepted and dismissed.

Mike watched the facial expressions of Jose and Gary, and he realized that he may have been giving too much information. Here is what to observe to get that type of insight:

✵ Is your opponent shaking or nodding his head?

✵ Is he patting the table or looking around when you are speaking?

✵ Is he eagerly sitting on the edge of his seat as an active participant in the discussion, or is his posture expressing the desire to expedite the discussion?

✵ From a body language perspective, you observe him sitting on the edge of the seat. Look for clusters of signals. Is he also tapping his fingers, clicking a pen, or doing something else that gives you more insight into his impatience?

You observe your opponent looks attentive but his eyes are glazed. You wonder, “To what degree am I even getting through to him? Is he bored? Am I going too fast? Am I being too complex? How should I determine if he is following me?” Make sure that he is following you, but then if he starts asking one question after another, you know he may be seeking more information. Observe his body language and his messages. Note not only the word choices he makes, but also the questions he asks. This will help you determine if you are giving too much or not enough information.


In Chapter 2, you read about the importance of watching your opponent’s face for quick flashes of emotion. In particular, watch his eyes. Do they start to become a little wider as he talks about an offer or counteroffer? Does he frown? All of those are signals that a negotiator can observe if he is astute enough.

Microexpressions give you insight into your opponent’s mind-set, particularly when you are both discussing an offer.

“Having a poker face” is an expression that means you give away no emotions. It is challenging to try to maintain a poker face. You may recall childhood games of trying to make a friend laugh who was attempting to maintain a poker face. Inevitably, your persistence won out.

Microexpressions are true expressions of someone’s state of mind for that one second that it takes for a microexpression to be expressed. That’s why microexpressions provide such great insight into another person’s thoughts even though she is trying to project a poker face. The mind does not have a chance to filter before the expression is displayed. If she displays a microexpression and then returns to her previous facial expression, you know she is intentionally trying not to give away any insight about her thought process.

One thing you can say in such a situation is, “I understand that you’re not in agreement with anything that I’m going to say.” Watch what happens. She might maintain her poker face and stop talking. You could both be silent. But eventually if you stay there long enough the other person is going to say, “Okay, what else do you have to say?” to resume the discussion.

Let’s say literally hours will go by and she does not say anything. Provided you are patient enough to wait, you would get even greater insight as to how determined she is to maintain her poker face. This will give you insight as to how receptive she might be to accepting or rejecting an offer you make.

Negotiating Against Yourself

Has this ever happened to you? You go to an auction for the first time and get handed a little paddle with a number on it, which you use to signal your bid. The auctioneer asks, “I’ve got $5, do I hear $10?” You really want that item but lose track in the middle of the auction and find yourself bidding against yourself. With a withering glance, the auctioneer tells you, “You had the last bid.”

This type of trap may occur in a negotiation. You are negotiating with your opponent. You see her smile; you keep talking and her smile becomes broader. You are sweetening the offer. All of sudden, you realize you have given up too much ground. You have fallen into the trap of negotiating against yourself. Stop talking. At least get her input as to what she thinks about the offer that you’ve put on the table.

Negotiating against yourself may occur when you give out too much information. Here is what might happen: You make an offer: “$1,000 is the best that I can do.” The other negotiator doesn’t say a word. You think, “I really want this deal. His silence worries me. How can I get the deal?” You say, “Maybe I can go up to $1,500.” Again, the other negotiator doesn’t say anything. You’re negotiating against yourself; his silence should have been a sign not to say anything. Pause when you have not gotten any response.

Suppose the opponent gives you a big, broad smile at a point when you offer $1,000. You may have just offered too much. Be cautious as to how you make your offers and watch your opponent’s body language. That same smile could be interpreted as, “Wait a minute, this offer is way better than I expected.” This is why you have to be cautious when, why, and how much information you give.

How do you know you are correctly interpreting body language? Instead of rushing into a situation in which you are bidding against yourself, seek feedback. Ask some probing questions. “What do you think about that?” “How does that sound to you?” “That’s a good offer, isn’t it?” (while nodding your head in approval because it’s a good offer in your favor).

A Team Approach

In the chapter’s opening scenario, Jose and Gary worked as a team during their discussion with Mike. They played good cop/bad cop. Jose was extremely uptight. Gary acted blasé. Jose was the one taking notes. Gary looked at Jose’s notes to pose his questions. They were watching Mike’s reactions.

Who was the dominant person in the situation? Who was the real power figure and to what degree were they representing their position in order to be secure in going forward in the negotiation? Gary projected the role he was playing being carefree, as if to say, “I’m not even taking notes. This doesn’t mean that much to me. What did Jose write? Oh yeah, that was something I wanted to ask just because I needed to gather more input.”

Both Jose and Gary consistently played their roles. That’s why I said as you enter into a negotiation, observe how your opponent’s demeanor is altered as the result of the offers and counteroffers that are made. Thus, you know how to better position your offers.

This is something that occurred that made me really question how in control a leader can be of his team when he and the team are negotiating. A new governor had just taken office. My team and I had a meeting with the governor’s secretary of commerce. I had already prepped the team by telling them about the objective I wanted to attain: We wanted to position ourselves as essential to the governor.

The secretary of commerce was new to his position. Everybody on my team understood his or her role and the outcome we were seeking. Everybody on my team indicated they understood I would be the lead person. I would do the majority of the talking and ask the majority of the questions when we got into the meeting with the secretary. In our meeting the secretary started to speak when I was talking. I would not relinquish the floor to him.

Now, understand the dynamics. I was a regular citizen. We were sitting in an impressive conference room. We were meeting in a power room with a secretary who was appointed to a magnificent role by the governor. I would not relinquish the floor to him. He tried to speak. I kept speaking if he tried to interrupt me. If he was speaking, I interrupted him. The reason I was doing that was to use a negotiation ploy to show I was the dominant person in the negotiation.

My team had rehearsed what would be said; everybody agreed to his or her role. Nevertheless, a member of my team said, “Greg, don’t interrupt him. Let him talk.” I threw a glare at him that made the room go so cold the chief of staff for the secretary literally said, “Wow, it really got chilly in here.” My team member and I had an emphatic talk after the meeting.

Even in a controlled situation where you think you have everything in hand, in a team environment when you’re negotiating expect the unexpected. To the degree that people play their roles, the negotiation will progress much better with the strategies you put in place in your planning process. If somebody throws a monkey wrench into the situation, you have to react as a leader. From that point on I never invited that person to another session that I was involved in. Burned once, twice shy.

Those are some of the dynamics you have to be very much aware of in a team environment. If you are the junior person sitting in on a negotiation, you may wonder, “Wait a minute, what is going on? Why is the team leader doing that?” Don’t speak up. Sit there and be quiet per the role you’re supposed to play. Everybody has to understand their role in a team environment.

Body Language in a Successful Negotiation

As I just stressed, a successful negotiation is created in the planning stage. Determine what it is that you want in the form of the outcome that you’re seeking from the negotiation. Take into consideration what the other negotiator wants from it and what you and he will both agree to. Put all of those components into your planning process.

Ask yourself, “What will occur if I say X and he says Y? We start to agree on Z and something happens there. Do we go back to A?” Anticipate how to react to detours in your planning process. Observe how he is reacting to your offers and counteroffers. Does he grimace? Does he pull away by leaning away from the table when you make an offer? Look at all those body language signals when you’re in a negotiation to determine to what degree your plan is successfully received.

Create a roadmap for how you will engage in the negotiation. You also set mile markers as to where you should be at any point per the offers and counteroffers that have been accepted or rejected in the negotiation. Note if your opponent’s body language is consistent with your plans.

Also observe how you are feeling. Do you feel the onset of a sudden headache? Is your stomach tight? Are your hands clenched? Tune into your own body language as well as your opponent’s. Do you need a time-out? Do you need to slow down the pace of the discussion? By noting your own reactions, you can make decisions about switching tactics. Make sure that you have procedures in place so if you can’t get what you need from that negotiator you have another source to go to. That allows you to not feel so stressed in the negotiation that you can convey your emotions in your body language.

Bluffing has its advantages. Suppose you are negotiating with a man. He says, “Look, that’s my best offer. Take it or leave it.”Without saying a word, you get up and start moving away from the table. He cries, “Wait a minute, where are you going?”

You: “You said take it or leave it. I’m going to leave it.”

Him: “Look, tell me what you need me to do to make it a little better offer.”

Now you have him on the defensive. Make sure you understand what a successful negotiation will entail to put your plans in place for the body language signals you will use. Smile at the appropriate time. Smile even at the inappropriate time to make the opponent wonder about your agreement with the offer he is making. All of these are aspects you have to consider in a negotiation. The body language you project will play a crucial role not only in a planning but also in carrying out a negotiation.

Always remember the value of planning. Recall how I planned the negotiation when I talked to my team before meeting with the governor’s secretary of commerce. Plan the negotiation with role playing to anticipate the questions you might be asked. Use this strategy to test the effectiveness of your plan and determine how you might alter it. By planning and role playing you also get the opportunity to have a real-life experience without having to pay the cost of the same experience at the negotiation table.

Emotional Intelligence in Negotiations

Emotional intelligence drives planning and carrying out negotiations. As I discussed in Chapter 6, know your hot buttons, the triggers that will make you react in certain ways. What are your opponent’s triggers?

Emotional intelligence is interwoven with body language. Your hot buttons and triggers are activated before you are aware of it. Microexpressions are visible before your brain has a chance to stop them from displaying emotions you are experiencing.

Know what will set you off from an emotional intelligence perspective. For example, when I need to negotiate with a company over a customer service issue I get annoyed when I have to wait on hold for a long time. I am already irritated by the time the person picks up the phone. I get even more irritated by finding out I have been waiting on hold for the wrong department. And if I get switched to three or four departments, I am ready to blow my top. This insight leads me to exercise control over myself so that I don’t take out my frustration on the person who is trying to negotiate with me.

Consider the same risk of anger when you are in a face-to-face negotiation. Control your microexpressions to the degree you can. Be aware of the microexpressions you might convey: fear, anger, disgust, surprise, contempt, sadness, or happiness. Recognize the potential for giving away something about your mind-set; your thought process are revealed to your opponent through microexpressions.

If you understand from an emotional intelligence perspective what you are triggered to say and do based on a stimulus, you know you need to be on guard against this. Be on the alert for comments that are designed to manipulate you. For example, your opponent says, “If you don’t get this deal, you’re going to lose your business.” Hide your fear. When you have anticipated this tactic, you can rehearse your reaction and not get rattled. That’s an aspect of emotional intelligence. To the degree that emotional intelligence may influence body language you have a degree of control.

Framing the Negotiation Environment

Framing involves considering optics. Know what you are trying to achieve. Recall I gave an example in Chapter 6 about how Allen Carter ushered his opponent, Terrence Titler, into the private dining room at his exclusive club room at the racetrack. Allen wanted to project an air of success and convey this message: “This is an upscale environment.” He knew Terrence wanted to obtain the status of being someone who would fit into that environment.

You may recall Allen actually tested Terrence by allowing a hint of condescension to creep into his voice. “Of course you know, Terrence, taking care of a horse involves feed, training, and vet bills. Are you sure you are prepared for the expense?” Allen’s probing sent the message: “Wait a minute, this might cost a little more than you thought.” Terrence took the bait and reassured Allen it would be no problem.

Suppose Terrence hunched his shoulders as he said that. Terrence was trying to bring his head into his shoulder to make himself a smaller target. From a body language perspective, this expression said, “There may be problem.” When you’re framing the environment for the negotiation, take into consideration how you can position the other negotiator to be most advantageous to your negotiation efforts. How do you do that?

✵ Does that mean having it in an upscale environment?

✵ Does it mean that you are wearing certain clothes or colors?

✵ Does it mean your jewelry projects an air of success?

All of those are questions that you pose to yourself when determining how you’re going to frame the environment to influence the opponent. Just as you recognize the optics that work in your favor, so also might your opponent. Be alert to the fact you may be talking in someone else’s environment. Your opponent had the same opportunity to frame it to her advantage. You can dismiss that if you choose to. Suppose the negotiation is in an opulent place. You might walk in with an attitude that conveys: “Is this the best you got?” Right away you have taken away some of the other person’s power and informed her that you are not going to be influenced by her optics. Thus, framing does play an important role in the negotiation from both perspectives—how to use it as an advantage and how to position it as a disadvantage to the other negotiator.

Adjusting the Framing

Clearly you could incorrectly frame a situation. You start off with one intention in mind and quickly realize your set of expectations or environment is not going to work to your advantage. You can always suggest you switch venues. The other person could inquire, “Why do you want to switch venues?” You reply, making it sound as if you are concerned for the opponent: “I just thought you will feel more comfortable in a different environment.”

You will recall in Chapter 3 you read about Stephen Woodruff, who deliberately made the temperature in the room colder than Bonnie Mallick preferred. She commented on how cold it had gotten. When she acquiesced to an offer or a counteroffer, Stephen got the temperature increased. Let’s say Bonnie was aware or suspected that somebody was manipulating the thermostat. Once she saw the correlation between her behavior and the temperature, she said to herself, “I’m not going to react like one of Pavlov’s dogs. I am going to ignore the temperature and pretend I am completely comfortable.” Seeing his scheme fall apart, Stephen thought, “This is not having the effect that I wanted it to have on the negotiation. Bonnie has figured out I’m manipulating the temperature. I better try something else.”

Noting Stephen was trying to manipulate her, Bonnie said, “How about if we just go to another venue?” Stephen asked, “Why do you want to go a different place?” Bonnie needed a plausible reason for her request. “These chairs are uncomfortable. I have a back problem. Let’s move to that room down the hall.” Your responses are driven either by your planning, experiences encountering manipulation of the environment, or on-the-spot adjustments in strategy.

This is something else Bonnie could do: “Stephen, I notice that whenever I disagree with your offers you make the room colder. Why is that?” Stephen needs to have a plausible explanation: If Stephen is being truthful, he would say: “Bonnie, I did that to entice you to be predisposed to my offers. I apologize. Please forgive me.” (He’s throwing himself on her mercy since she caught him at his ploy.) If Stephen is being untruthful or strident, he’d say: “Bonnie, I don’t know what you’re talking about. If you observing correlations between your offer and counteroffers and the temperature in the room, maybe you want to think about being fairer.”

Power Letters and Phrases

Display your confidence with power letters and phrases. Power letters are hard sounding: D, G, K, P, M, and T. Soft letters are S, H, F, and L. Think about the power letters in “Go get this deal done.” Power letters influence how you word some of your sentences. Use hard consonants and letters to emphasize points and soft ones to downplay others.

Power phrases indicate to what degree you are confident about the offer or counteroffer that you’re making or your sense of where the negotiation is headed.

Power phrases convey authority. Make your point and stop. Power phrases say what you mean. They are direct. Not, “That’s OK, don’t worry about it” but “This is a problem. We need to find a solution” or “I need your help to resolve this.”

✵ Avoid filler phrases: “Well,” “sort of,” “I would tend to,” “I guess,” and “I’m not sure about this.” Replace indecisive phrases with decisive phrases.

✵ Avoid phrases that deflect due credit (“I was lucky” and “it was nothing”) with phrases that accept credit (“I worked hard, thank you.”)

✵ Speak with assurance. If you cannot be certain about some aspect of a deal, express what you can be certain about.

✵ Accept credit and compliments.

✵ Avoid negative phrases: “I am really sorry, I hope you will consider what I have to offer. I know it is not very much.” Frame your messages in positive terms. “I am confident you will be happy with this offer.”

Consider the impact of power letters and phrases in a negotiation. Couple them with body language that reiterates your power. For example, you point at yourself as you say, “We can deliver on our promise.” The body language of pointing at yourself while aligning your words with that action conveys authority.

Contrast this with Caron Michaels, who says, “We can definitely help you achieve the goals you’re seeking.” At the same time she says that, instead of pointing, Caron leans away from the table. Her body language is indicating with the gesture of leaning away, “I don’t really want to be associated with this statement that I just made because I’m not that sure of it myself.”

You observe Caron’s body language is not synchronized with the words she is using. You can also gain insight that Caron is attempting to use power words, but something is not right. The degree of confidence Caron displays in those words does not match the body language she is exhibiting; thus, you should follow the body language.

In addition, you can also test Caron’s conviction about the power words she is using. Caron said, “We can definitely give you what you want from this deal.” You can then paraphrase her and say something like, “Really?” See what she says. Does she reiterate her comment or back down? With one word, “really,” you can determine if she is trying to use power words that she cannot substantiate.

Take it a step further and say, “You said you think you can guarantee you will be able to give me what I want from this deal.” Notice I added the words “you think.” Observe how Caron responds through her body language and words. Does she pause and say, “Uh-h-h yes”? That little pause between “Uh-h-h yes” gave you insight through her body language that she was not 100 percent sure.

Silent Stakeholders

Let’s return to the topic of silent stakeholders, which I discussed in Chapter 3. Recall the scenario I presented at the beginning of this chapter. What would happen if one of the men did not have the authority to conclude a deal without the other. If we change the situation, now Jose is present but Gary is not. Mike is talking to Jose, who looks nervous. Mike probes to find out why Jose is so nervous. “Jose, I see you are nervous. What is bothering you? Do you have the ability to conclude a deal today?”

Jose says, “Well uh-h yes, yes.” While Jose’s voice said “yes,” his body language gestures said “no.” At that point Mike might say, “I hear what you’re saying, but you didn’t sound very convincing. Who else is actually involved in this negotiation that you would have to consult in order to conclude a deal?”

The question “who else” is an assumptive question, meaning there’s somebody else who is involved in the negotiation and not present. The assumption could be completely wrong, but Mike allows Jose to think Mike knows a little bit more than Jose does. Mike scrutinizes Jose’s body language as he stammers, “Uh-h nobody else is involved in it.”

Mike notes Jose’s pause. Jose has just sent a signal that he has to think about the answer he’s going to give. Mike asks, “Really?” Jose admits, “I have to talk with my colleague Gary.” Now Mike has identified the other stakeholder. He replies, “Can we get Gary on the phone right now?” Mike wants to make sure all the stakeholders are involved so the deal can be concluded. Gary has now been pointed out as the silent stakeholder. This is why you should always ask the question who else is involved in this negotiation who has a stake in it.

Let’s reverse the scenario. Instead of Jose being at the negotiation table, Gary is in the room without Jose. In looking at Gary, Mike sees his demeanor: “I can care less if we get this deal concluded. I am just here just to go along to get along.” Mike confronts Gary: “Who else is involved in this negotiation who might need to have input?” Let’s say Gary casually replies, “Nobody.” If by chance Mike is not 100 percent sure he believes Gary that no one else is involved in the negotiation, it would still behoove him to probe early about this in the negotiation.

Mike clarifies, “Let me understand this, Gary; if we are able to come to a conclusion today on an agreement for the negotiation, you will be able to sign the agreement today. We will have a deal. Is that correct?” At that point Gary has to either be very truthful or he has to decide that he’s going to lie. Even in the time that it takes Gary to respond to that, Mike can gain some insight.

Gary looks up and to the left. As you read in Chapter 1, looking up and to the left indicates Gary is more likely searching his past. (Always assess how people use their body language before the negotiation to accurately detect signals in the negotiation.) His body language says, “Wait a minute. Let me see. Is there anybody else who needs to be considered in this?” He already knows that there is or isn’t somebody, so why does he go through that thought process? While watching Gary’s face, Mike asks, “Really?” Gary responds, “There is my colleague Jose.” “What input does Jose have in this whole deal?” Mike asks. The answer to this question gives Mike an understanding of the effect of Jose’s absence on the negotiation. Mike will continue to probe until he finds out to what degree Jose is actually an integral part in the negotiation.

Optics and Negotiation

Optics become a strategic part of a negotiation; they play a huge role in a negotiation. They set the tone and put you in the proper mind-set for a negotiation. These questions may arise:

✵ “Does my opponent have the right demeanor given what’s being negotiated?”

✵ “Is something off in this situation?”

✵ “Is something occurring in the environment I should be aware of?”

One time I was in the process of going to a lawyer’s office to hire him. The reason I was going to his office as opposed to talking to him over the phone first is because I wanted to see his natural environment. I was curious about what the office looked like, who was really working there, what they were doing, and how much activity was going on. Before I left home, I took off my expensive watch and college ring. I did not want to give him any clues about my financial well-being; I wasn’t giving away anything. Let’s say the attorney was only going to charge me $150 an hour for his services. If I left my watch on, he might have recalculated his fee and thought, “This guy can probably afford $200 to $250 an hour.” He may have adjusted his rate on the spot. I did not give him that opportunity.

When it comes to setting the right environment, anticipate what a person expects to see. If you go to a lawyer’s office who charges $600 an hour, you would not expect the office to be dingy, quiet, dimly lit, or have pictures on the wall of dogs playing cards. The optics of that would be the wrong environment for the $600 an hour lawyer. Your negotiation is affected by the environment in which you negotiate.

Status symbols play a big role in optics—people form impressions about you based on your jewelry and cars. Defense attorneys tell physicians accused of medical malpractice to not drive to the courthouse in their expensive cars for fear that jurors will notice and assume the physician is able to afford a large judgment. There are so many facets that optics create at a negotiation that you always have to be very much aware of their strategic role.

You decide your next car is going to be a Chevrolet. You drive up to the dealer in a Lexus, Mercedes, or Jaguar. What have you done? You’ve sent a signal, “Hey, I’ve got money.” Car salespeople are attuned to observing cars potential buyers drive. If you’re driving up to a Chevy dealer’s lot in a Mercedes, the car salesperson figures he can show you the highest-priced models and negotiate with you a little more stringently.

When There are No Good Choices

What do you do when you’re in a negotiation and feel trapped? The answer is in the planning stage. If you have ever gone to an auction, you have seen people swept up in the excitement of bidding. Envision two people who are locked in a battle. Each wants the item, but at one point, one of them has to drop out. Never get so caught up in the negotiation that you lose any gains you might have realized. Planning a negotiation is like going into an auction knowing how far you are willing to go to get an item. When you plan the outcome of the negotiation, have a ceiling as far as what’s the best you can get from the negotiation. You need to have a midpoint: “If I reach this point, I’m happy.” What is your floor? That’s to say, if the deal does not meet this criteria you will walk away from the negotiation and not tie your emotions to the negotiation.

Here’s where emotional intelligence also comes into play. Always be willing to walk away from a negotiation. In so doing you will be insulating yourself from staying engaged in the negotiation if by chance you are below the lowest offer you know you can accept. Calculate what you’re going to walk away from. Be willing to tell your opponent, “This is not going to be satisfactory for us today. How about we reconvene later?” You can gracefully get away from the negotiation, but the one thing you don’t want to do is berate the other negotiator: “Oh, you’re such a jerk. I can’t believe you would make such an insulting offer. I would never negotiate with you again. I can’t believe your parents actually had you. What a disservice they did to the world when they gave birth to you!” Don’t say anything along those lines because that is not a graceful exit at all. Always leave the negotiation door at least cracked just a little bit so you can go back in and reopen the negotiation. Don’t burn any bridges.

You can state with a smile on your face, “I really appreciate the fact that you and I have engaged in the negotiation with an honest and open perspective.” You’re complementing the other negotiator. Let’s say the other negotiator really wasn’t that open and honest. You’re still setting the boundaries by which you would be suggesting, “Let’s negotiate a little more fairly and honestly.”

In Summary

I’ve gone through a lot of the aspects that make for a successful negotiation and negotiator. Be aware of what body language signals and nonverbal signals mean. Recognize the need to be emotionally tuned from an emotional intelligence perspective about the use of triggers.

Once you know which microexpressions to look for, you will gain greater insight into your opponent’s emotions. Use all of these aspects of a successful negotiation. You will become a much more astute, skilled, and successful negotiator and win more negotiations. Then everything will be right with the world.