Nonverbal Victory

Leadership often involves a variety of argumentative styles Рfrom negotiating tough deals to handling strong objections Рarguing is an art form. To do these things, we use all the verbal means available, be that arguing, promising, or making deals. Forbes.com published How To Win An Argument Without Words, an article by Nick Morgan, which discusses the often overlooked art of nonverbal communication.

Nonverbal persuasion is subtle, it works more slowly, and it works mostly on the unconscious. As such, it can allow all sides to save face and avoid getting too deeply dug into a difficult negotiation.

Morgan supplies three basic steps for winning the nonverbal argument:

All must be done so subtly they are not consciously noticed:

1. Mirror your adversary: When the other party adopts a sitting or standing position, follow suit. This will send an unconscious message that you are on an equal level and generally in agreement with them. This will build trust.

2. If they start arguing, heckling, or violently disagreeing with you, don’t mirror; align: Often, if you will align yourself with the person – sit or stand facing the same direction – you’ll be surprised how often all protest will cease.

3. If tension still remains high, use the hands-down gesture to dampen it: When tempers flare and feelings run high, spread your hands out, palms down, at about waist height, and gently push them down a couple of inches.

Morgan says that these gestures won’t necessarily remove the need for a good verbal bargaining, but they can reduce tension and defuse situations more easily.

To read more about how to win nonverbal arguments, click here.

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