What’s your interpretation when you quote a price to a client and they raise both eyebrows…
1. I pitched it too low?
2. I pitched it too high?
Well, the only way you are going to be sure is to wait until they say something.
Body language can only be an indicator of what a person is thinking. That’s not to say that it isn’t useful but we shouldn’t let it distract us unnecessarily.
In a negotiation, anything that can provide us with an advantage… an insight into how people are feeling (nervous, inquisitive, over confident) or a clue about how we should proceed…’I seem to be in a strong position’, ‘they don’t have much information’, ‘I’ll let them talk’. It’s a useful channel of intelligence which works particularly well in a team situation where time-out can be called, observations shared and strategy adjusted.
I assume there must be a lot of people who aren’t aware of their body language otherwise in these critical situations they wouldn’t do it …or would they?
Well if it’s involuntary, then perhaps there is something genuine about it. But it is possible to be misled.
The opportunity to fine tune and trim our negotiation strategy is the chief benefit that NVC gives us in my view. It can reveal the possibility of a different story about what the other party is thinking rather than depending entirely on what we are being told they are thinking.
NVC is one of a range of information gathering tools that is available to us.
Possibly the most effective situation in which we can use this resource to influence the behaviour of other is during an interview. I’m thinking here from the point of view of the interviewee and how we can project a positive impression of what we’re feeling about the prospect of working for this organization by influencing the panel in front of us.
When I coach my clients for an interview I recommend that after they enter the room, they park their backside as far as they can against the back of the chair, cross their legs, lean forward with their hands clasped loosely around their knee, face tilted up slightly and a facial expression of friendly anticipation. (got that?!)
If you get it right, and you should try this at home a few times in the mirror, it’s a dynamic yet respectful look, which says, ‘I am fully focussed on you.’
Having made an impression, the challenge then is to back it up with your content which is a whole other topic.
I’d say that NVC raises the odds of achieving a successful outcome by as much as 40% which is pretty good and well worth the effort.
The confidence that we get from a strong NVC profile shouldn’t be underestimated. But don’t be over confident. Let your content do the rest!
Presentations also benefit from the application of Non Verbal Communication.
When it comes to Presentations, we need to find some benefits for the deliverer because, in my experience people who find themselves allocated to this role often experience quite troublesome difficulties…physical as well as emotional.
One reason for this is that, unlike the earlier examples of NVC that we looked at, Presentations are often considered to be a one-way task with no feedback. The Presenter delivers and the Audience receives, end of story. It’s not a satisfactory experience.
There are three reasons for this. First, this is just how we expect a presentation to be so our expectations are low anyway (second reason), the Presenter just wants to get out of there as quickly as possible. The third reason for our discomfort is that we have to stand up at the front which can be quite intimidating.
Presentations don’t have to be one-way only and you don’t have to stand up to deliver them. For a relatively small amount of money you can get a lightweight bar stool from your local home furnishing store, take it to the venue and position it in front and to the side of the screen at a right angle to the audience. So you’re looking at them on your left and looking to your screen on your right. The feeling is that you’re talking with the audience not at them.
On your high stool, you can shift around, use your hands, make eye contact all the way to the back row, get down to accentuate a point… all in the knowledge that you can return to the safety of perch when you want to. You are animated because you’re body language is setting you free.