Reading Body Language in Negotiations

How important is body language? In a presentation at the 2011 International Association for Conflict Management, Zhaleh Semnani-Azad and Wendi Adair argue that body language and facial expressions can be more important in international negotiations than what is actually said. The two authors had just published a study that examines how easy it is to misinterpret nonverbal cues due to cultural differences. The executives who learn how to “read” what the other side is really saying with body signals — and who are sensitive to how their own signals might be perceived — will be a step ahead in negotiations.

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