The Negotiator Magazine

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  1. Sitting on  the Edge of One’s Chair

            This is a definite sign of interest. When it follows a newly articulated position,  it suggests real interest in what is being offered. Most people do not sit on the actual front of their chair, but only lean slightly forward. On the other hand, some individuals may lean so far forward they place their elbows on the table in front of them.

  1. Hands Touching Face/Stroking Chin/Playing with Glasses

             These are signs of contemplation. Individuals feel uncomfortable sitting in silence while they consider unanticipated opponent disclosures or position changes. To cover their pregnant pauses, the actors use these devices to look as if something is actually happening while they contemplate their next moves. Such actors are likely to reject the offers that generated such nonverbal responses, but they will probably do so more positively to keep the process moving.

  1. Steepling (Hands Pressed Together with Hands or Fingers Pointed Upward)

             This is a sign of confidence, suggesting that the actors are pleased with developments. Negotiators who observe such signals should be careful not to concede more than they have to.

  1. Leaning Back with Hands Behind Head

             This particularly masculine posture is another sign of confidence. It may alternatively be an indication of contentedness. The actors are very pleased with negotiation developments. When men are interacting with women, it can also be a sign of domination. Female negotiators who observe such behavior in opponents should be cautious, because their opponents probably think things are going their way.

  1. Placing One Hand Behind Head

             When individuals use one hand to clasp the neck behind their ears, this is usually an indication of distress. It is as if the actors are psychologically giving themselves consoling hugs to counteract the negative consequences they are experiencing. Negotiators exhibiting this posture most likely see negative developments ahead.

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April 2007