"7 Micro-Expressions You Need To Know – Negotiate Better" – Negotiation Tip of the Week

A pale expression held his face. Holy ‘blank’ was the four-letter word obscenity he uttered. We’re in a full-blown crisis! Dumbfounded, he said, what are we going to do now? We have to negotiate with them! His associate said, let’s meet with our adversaries. We can read their micro-expressions during the meeting to gain insight into their real thoughts and feelings. That’ll allow us to know what’s really on their minds.

Do you know how to read micro-expressions? Do you know what they are? Continue reading, and you’ll be able to answer both of those questions. Plus, you’ll discover how you can use them when you’re in a crisis.

Micro-expressions:

Micro-expressions are emotional displays that last for less than a quarter of a second. They reflect the reality of someone’s thoughts at that moment. Hence, if you’re able to interpret someone’s emotional displays accurately, you’ll have insight into their current emotional state. Doing that will give you insight into how they feel about an offer or statement. During a crisis, having this insight gives you real-time information about the direction you should take.

There are seven micro-expressions generic to everyone throughout the world.

  • Fear – When detecting genuine fear, look for raised eyebrows, widened eyes, and parted lips with the bottom lip protruding downward.
  • Anger – Anger is denoted by lowered eyebrows and flaring nostrils reminiscent of a bull before charging.
  • Disgust – This micro-expression is displayed by the upper lip turned up, while the nose is wrinkled.
  • Surprise – You’ll recognize surprise through raised eyebrows, wide eyes, and open mouth.
  • Contempt – This gesture appears as a sneer. You’ll note it by one corner of the mouth turned upward.
  • Sadness – Note sadness through drooping eyelids and downturned lips. A change in voice inflection and tonality may also accompany genuine sorrow.
  • Happiness – Happiness is shown through wide-eyes with crow’s feet or wrinkles at their corners, a smile, and raised cheeks. A degree of exuberance may also accompany this gesture.

Using Micro-expressions In Crisis Intervention:

Knowing someone’s real thoughts allows you to understand their source of motivation – and that’s the benefit of being able to read someone’s expressions.

During a crisis, use the unannounced information you’ve gathered and assess how strong the opposition is. From there, determine the degree of mental or real force to summon. Another plus is the ability to evaluate the commitment that those on the opposing side have to one another. Accordingly, if you can identify those with less alliance, you may be able to separate them from the others. Therefore, you’d be weakening their numerical strength, which may assist in decreasing their overall power.

Once you’ve gathered the mentioned insights, consider different ways to use them to your benefit. As an example, you might:

  • create false scenarios to confuse the other party per the direction they should take
  • align some of your stronger positions with their weaker ones (do this to keep their stronger points at bay) – then you can state that you’re trying your best to meet their needs
  • form a splinter group, consisting of those from your side, theirs, and neutral stakeholders to combat the overall strength of the opposing party – this maneuver is akin to divide and conquer, with the benefit of your team becoming stronger, while their’s become diluted.

Feigning Micro-expressions:

While genuine micro-expressions give insight into one’s mind, you can fake them. As an example, you can exaggerate contempt by turning one corner of your lip up and allowing it to linger longer than a micro-expression. Even if the other person didn’t initially observe your expression, you could ask if he saw what you’d done. Regardless, you’ll have him on the defense by asking questions and him answering them.

Confront With Caution:

There’s nothing more daunting than sizing up an adversary and not identifying its true leader. That means you must be hyper-aware of who your real opponent is and the decision-making abilities they have. You’ve heard about the power behind the throne. Even more so during a crisis, that’s who you want to confront. Your rivals may have a shared leadership structure or using a front-person as the face of their team. They’d do that to confuse you.

To identify a power source, observe who might look at whom for confirmation before making or accepting an offer. You can also detect subtle signals per the hesitation in committing that act. That’s where your observance of micro-expressions will lend assistance in identifying a person fronting as one possessing power.

Reflection:

Being able to identify and interpret micro-expressions accurately will give you an enormous advantage in any situation. During a crisis, having this skill will magnify your power exponentially. So, if you use this ability wisely, you’ll deter and avert more crises… and everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating!

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

After reading this article, what are you thinking? I’d like to know. Reach me at [email protected]

"Avoid Danger In Negotiations – How To Control Conversations Better" – Negotiation Tip of the Week

Two agents were working undercover as they discussed an update with their informant. They were seated in a recessed area in an attempt to keep their conversation private and to avoid danger. They wanted to control the environment as much as possible. Suddenly, a panhandler walked over and aggressively began to ask for money. One agent said pleasantly, no. But the person persisted by asking, why not? The agent said, no, again. Still, the person continued their plea for money. Finally, the agent growled as he said in a loud voice, I said no! Stunned, the beggar turned and quickly walked away.

Potential danger always surrounds you, even during negotiations (you’re always negotiating). In some cases, you avoid it by staying outside of its bounds. At other times, you prevent it by the way you control conversations in an environment.

When the agents turned their attention back to their update, the informant asked, did you think that person was dangerous? The agent said, no. That beggar didn’t accept my answer the first few times. So, I had to alter the delivery of my words. By changing the tone of my reply and sounding more hostile, the panhandler sensed my, no, response as being more definitive. That’s why he walked away at that point.

Consider the following techniques to increase your control as you negotiate with those that might attempt to be defiant or with those that you’d like to control better.

  • Block and Bridge

Block and bridge is one way to alter the flow of a conversation. You’d implement its use as a conversation began to head in an unwanted direction – one that you feared would cause you to lose control of the discussion or interaction. You might also consider employing it when you wanted to enhance the flow of a conversation.

To invoke its use, when someone began making statements that you disagreed with, or citing accounts not aligned with where you wanted to take the conversation, block their comments. As an example, you can say, you have a point (block), and the outcome was less than expected (bridge). I suggest we take the following approach. It’s known to have better results.

The manner you block someone’s comments depends on the severity of the situation. If it’s one that might escalate to a high degree of irritation, you might consider blocking the other person’s statements with a harsh tone and words. If that’s not required, consider being milder in your intonation and demeanor.

  • Answering Questions With Questions

Answering questions with questions is an excellent way to gather more information than you give. It also allows you to control a conversation. Because the person asking questions is controlling the flow of the discussion. And that occurs as long as the other party is answering questions.

To implement this strategy, ask a question in response to one that’s asked of you. Do this instead of answering the initial query. Thus, instead of providing an answer to that question, you’d respond with one of your own.

As an example, if someone says, do I have to take this course of action? Your response might be, what do you think will happen if you don’t take this course of action? You’ve not answered the question. And if you get a response, you’ve gained more insight into the individual’s thoughts. Along with a possible solution to a situation if you choose to implement that person’s response.

  • Listening To What’s Not Said

Many people consider themselves good communicators because they pay attention to what someone says. In reality, you can be a better communicator and control conversations better by observing what’s someone doesn’t say.

As an example, if someone said, I didn’t do what you said I did. You might consider a person’s answer to mean, I didn’t do what you said I did. Yes, I did it, but not the way you stated it.

By listening for what’s not said, and the response of how something’s said, you’ll gain better insight and control of someone’s statements. You’ll also know more about how that person is communicating. And that will be worth its weight in gold.

Reflection

In every environment, and every negotiation you’re in, think about how you’ll control that environment. In particular, consider how you’ll avoid dangerous situations, what form of control you’ll use, and where that might take you in your encounter. Because the better you control conversations, the more power and control you’ll have in every negotiation and situation that you’re in… and everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating!

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

After reading this article, what are you thinking? I’d like to know. Reach me at [email protected]