“Before confronting someone’s biases, know the
sources of their beliefs.” -Greg Williams, The Master
Negotiator & Body Language Expert (Click to Tweet)
“To Confront Biases Better – Know How To Empower
No matter if you’re negotiating (you’re always negotiating)
or in the most serene environment you can imagine, biases confront
you. They appear in the form of how others treat you, think about
you, and what they say to other people about you. Even if they
don’t know you, sometimes they’ve prejudged you based on the
biases they have about you. Thus, you should anticipate how people
will engage you and how you’ll address them before entering into
their domain. You should also do so during the interaction you have
with them. That’s especially true when doing so may enhance or
prevent opportunities that might await you. One way to do that is
to empower the truth as your aide. That means confronting them with
the facts of reality. But as we know, some people create
alternative realities as their truth. Thus, you should also be
astute about the following.
When people speak, their words represent the thoughts they’re
having. Therefore, if someone makes a Freudian slip (e.g., I think
John is great – when they meant to say Bob), the ‘slip’
discloses what was residing in their unconscious mind. And thus,
their statement reveals their hidden sentiments about John, not
Bob. While they may think Bob is great, too, John is more prominent
in their mind. That means the person has higher thoughts about
John. And that can prove to be valuable information.
So, what can you do with this information? You can silently
thank that person for revealing their real sentiments, knowing that
you’ve uncovered their true feelings. Or, you can ask him why he
called one name when he meant another (do that while observing how
he responds to your query). Note if he becomes frustrated,
exasperated, or unnerved? If so, you’ve more than likely probed
deeper into beliefs that he’d rather not have exposed. If you
believe his bias lacks fairness, and you think it’s appropriate,
confront him about it. While doing so, leave room for him to become
empowered. Do that by offering him truthful information about his
opinion, and back it up with proof. Then, note to what degree, if
any, he alters his perspective. His response and altered
disposition will lend insight into the type of mindset you’re
dealing with, which will allow you to assess the degree of time
you’ll exhaust in altering his views. In some cases, it’ll be
better to move on. For you, per him, the opinion of the dead
can’t be changed.
Body Language Gestures That Might Indicate Biases
While body language gestures can convey an array of sentiments,
those that follow indicate a dislike for one in the presence of
Nose – The upturned wrinkling of one’s nose indicates that a
person finds something unpleasant. If the gesture occurs when you
enter that person’s environment, he’s signaling displeasure
with you. And it’s most likely revealing a bias the person
possesses about you.
Mouth – If you observe one corner of someone’s mouth
momentarily turning upward, he’s displaying a signal of contempt.
That means he’s disgusted by something he perceives about you. If
it occurs multiple times when you speak or when you enter his
environment, take note of the action. He may not be aware of it
consciously, but he’s signaling his bias. And that’s
information you can use.
here to watch a brief video about disgust.
Feet – When people are in small groups, and they’re facing
one another, their feet will point towards the most
thought-provoking person. Not only is it a way to gain insight into
whom they may admire at that time, but it also gives insight into
the thoughts that others accept. And that can become a barometer as
to how well your sentiments will be received. Thus, if they ignore
you, the indication might be that you’re not presenting value per
the discussion. It might also indicate that others don’t perceive
you as being up to their level. Regardless, be mindful of what’s
occurring. And, assess how you’ll use that insight to identify
why others might be displaying a bias towards you.
While these gestures don’t necessarily have to indicate a
definitive bias, they can give you insight per where one’s
thought may lie about you. If you’re unsure of one’s intent,
test them. Do that by observing their response to others in the
environment, whom they gravitate to, and the views of those that
they accept. That information will give you additional insight,
which may serve as confirmation about that person’s
No matter the environment, expect biases to be part of it. Thus,
to help yourself, be observant about the body language of others,
and adopt procedures to overcome the prejudices they may have about
you. The insights mentioned will allow you to do just that.
When using these insights, know that exposing someone to the
truth about their beliefs may cause them to reject you. But when
confronted by practical information, unless they don’t want to
accept your premise due to their biases, they will be left to look
foolish. And that will leave them out of step with reality. If
that’s so, it may be the best place to dispense of them – move
on. Don’t waste your time with them. The people that accept your
premise will be the individuals that display an open mind.
They’ll also be the ones that’ll aide you most in your quest.
And everything will be right with the world.
Remember, you’re always negotiating!
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After reading this article, what are you thinking? I’d
like to know. Reach me at Greg@TheMasterNegotiator.com
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