body language in a negotiation

Uncross your arms and stand up straight, or you’ll never get that raise!

Body Language Signals You Should Never Send in a Negotiation

Regardless of how well you prepare for a negotiation and how convincing your arguments are – your negotiating strategy can topple like a house of cards in a single moment. 

How can this happen? Maybe your negotiating partner picked up on your insecurity and nervousness, given away by your shaking hands and the film of sweat on top of your upper lip? There is not much you can do about bodily reactions like these ones. However, there are tactics which you can employ to hide your nervousness. The first step: Making yourself aware which body language signals convey insecurity and overriding these with confident gestures and facial expressions.

body language in a negotiation

Pro tip: Covering your mouth makes you look untrustworthy. Sitting on the floor isn’t great, either.

Mistake #1: Scratching Your Head

When it comes to answering questions to which we do not immediately know the answer, our hands can reflexively spring to our heads. Stop now! Rubbing your head or neck makes your appear clueless and unsure of yourself – not the message you want to send if you are asking for a pay rise.

Mistake #2: Avoiding Eye Contact

Playing ping pong with your eyes is not a good look. Avoiding eye contact with your negotiating partner has the unfortunate effect of conveying nervousness and insecurity. Now is the time to show that thanks to your excellent preparation and outstanding efforts – you are completely in control!

Mistake #3: Hands in Your Pockets

Convincing words need to be backed up with the right body language. Putting your hands in your pockets conveys the message you have something to hide.

Mistake #4: Rubbing Your Neck

Even if you are tense – avoid rubbing your neck at all costs. It gives the impression of being disinterested or at a loss – not messages you want to be conveying in a negotiation!

Mistake #5: Tapping Your Fingers

You are nervous – while trying to avoid fidgeting with your arms and legs, you attempt something less noticeable. Stop! Tapping your fingers gives the impression of being impatient and in the worst case scenario could be interpreted as arrogance. 

Avoid sending these body language signals and you stand a better chance of being convincing in your next negotiation.

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