In a previous post, What is Negotiation?, we discussed the Five Negotiating Tactics. This is the second installment of  going in-depth with an explanation of each of them. This post covers the importance of how to Portray yourself in the interaction of Face-to-Face Negotiations.


Face-to-Face Negotiations

It’s important to be positive both in your attitude and in your body language throughout the negotiations. How you come across is 90% of negotiating successfully. Words are not nearly as important as actions.

Face-to-face negotiations can be much more effective than over the phone or in writing. The reason is because the body speaks for itself.


We all have our own natural way of standing or sitting. Some of us may have developed the habit of slumping or hanging our shoulders over the years.

When entering negotiations, posture is one of the first things someone will notice. You don’t want to look tense, but you also don’t want to look like you’re not attentive to the situation. You want to look like you’re in charge and ready to move forward.

This means shoulders back, head sitting square on your shoulders and looking straight ahead. Keep your arms to the side and your hands relaxed. Be careful not to cross your arms — even if it’s a natural posture for you. In negotiations it closes you off from communications with the other person. Also be careful not to cross your legs. The more open your stance the more open the communication will be. You’re in charge — keep your posture in charge as well.

Watch your opponent; where they may be closed at first, you may notice them opening up as you begin to formulate the negotiations for them.


This is the beginning of any negotiation, so make sure your handshake is strong and firm. This one touch will immediately let the opponent know what kind of person you are. If your handshake is weak, half-hearted or condescending, your negotiations will already be off to a bad start. A strong firm handshake is what’s needed.

Head Movements

Do your best to keep your head steady. Sometimes we have a tendency to show agreement to statements when we don’t mean to do so. Showing agreement be- fore understanding the situation weakens your position. It may also cause you to inadvertently agree to something that isn’t in your best interest! Instead of simply nodding without thinking during the negotiation, listen attentively, analyze the data and respond to it.

Nervous Habits

Nail biting, playing with your hair, squirming in your seat, making off-handed comments or jokes, or adjusting your clothes — take all of these and any other nervous habits you have and put them away. Each one of these habits displayed during negotiations will weaken your position. Add to that list nervous hand movements and tapping of a pen as well!

Eye Contact

Direct eye contact is best in negotiations, even if this isn’t your normal way of conversing. Direct eye contact means power. Shifting eye contact means uncer- tainty or distrust. People can feel messages very quickly based upon how well you connect visually.

Read the next post on the Five Negotiating Tactics which will cover Listening and Communication.

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