The Significance of Body Language in Negotiations

Negotiation SkillsWhile body language has been a source of interpersonal understanding from the very beginning of the human race, only in the past few decades has behavioral scientists started producing methodical observations of nonverbal meanings.

They have developed complex notational systems, layered people interacting for slow-motion frame-by-frame analysis, and performed thousands of other experiments.

The scientific study of body language is subtle in its infancy, and even though conclusions are rather tentative, most considerable contributions have already been made to our understanding of human interaction.

Through history, by means of body language reading, when we add this research of modern scientists to the observations of sensitive people, we have a remarkable means of understanding others.

Nonverbal Communication

Nonverbal communication was the only language used all through the most of humanity’s existence. There was absolutely no oral or written language for many centuries.

So, body language was the only means of communication. When language finally developed, people commonly let themselves to be abstracted from body communication.

Some, though, continued to concentrate on nonverbal cues. An ancient Chinese proverb warns, “look out for the man whose stomach doesn’t move when he laughs.”

In the eighth century B.C., the prophet Isaiah commented, “The show of their countenance both witness against them.”

Face-to-Face Interaction

Face-to-face interaction comes from words by means of only a small portion of the understanding one gain. One well-known authority asserts that a mere 35 percent of the meaning of communication derives from words; the rest comes from body language.

In a widely quoted article that in situations he examined, Researcher Albert Mehrabian stated only 7 percent of the impact was verbal – the remaining 93 percent was nonverbal.

You may question the specific percentages arrived at by these researchers, but few people argue the common direction of their findings – that body language is a very vital means of communication.

You easily put the whole thing into this statement: No words are as clear as the language of body expression once one has learned to read it.

Did you know that a person cannot NOT communicate? Although he or she may make a decision to stop talking, it is not possible for her to stop behaving.

The behavior of a person – their facial expressions, posture, gestures, and other actions – offer a continuous stream of information and a constant source of clues to the feelings they are experiencing.

Therefore, one of the most important skills of good listening is the reading of body language.



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