Your behaviors develop from habits which you take on and internalize. These habits are formed from observation, imitation and repetition, that is, through modeling what you thought would benefit you at the time.
They begin as offhanded remarks, ideas and images perceived from your individual model of the world, that is your subjective perceived reality. First you make your habits, and then your habits make you. They are easy to get into, but difficult to get out of. Many of your nonverbal communication behaviors are learned as habits. Some should be used as negotiation techniques.
In Four Negotiation Styles various nonverbal communication characteristics were listed in four generic negotiation personality styles. This posting goes into more detail of nonverbal communication cues.
Awareness of your counterpart
You have an internal mechanism which alerts you to when conditions have changed and may lead you to feeling uncomfortable. Sometimes you are aware of what has happened, other times you just feel the change but cannot put your finger on what caused it. Use these alerts as part of your negotiation techniques.
Is your counterpart talking with his arms and legs crossed in a tense manner?
Is his eye contact inquiring and attentive, or is it more like a glare?
Does he have a habit of covering his mouth when he talks to you or when asking a question?
His manner has changed, you notice this, but do not give it meaning.
Awareness of yourself
How are you sitting? What body language message are you conveying? You can use your nonverbal communication as one of your negotiation techniques to manage yourself and as well as others. By putting your notepad on the table, sliding forward in your seat, looking interested and uncrossing your legs, you can change your position to a much more receptive one.
People tend to match and mirror nonverbal cues of others; this is one of the strategies of rapport building. How is your counterpart sitting? Match this and feel the atmosphere change for the better.
Once you begin to manage your nonverbal behavior and that of your counterpart, you will reap the benefits in what is actually verbalized - there will be greater empathy in both your verbal communications.
The better you appreciate nonverbal communication cues, the more you will be able to use it to your advantage. Certain nonverbal gestures convey feelings of dominance and power, while others move more to the submissive and nervous end of the continuum.
Dominance and power cues
When a person places his feet on a desk, leans back in his chair with hands behind his head or neck and makes piercing eye contact, it is quite justifiable to note that behavior and be cautious.
If someone remains seated and lets you remain standing, this could also be a sign of a desire to show power. Giving a palm-down handshake, rapping the fingers on the desk, or steepling the fingers on the desk are further cues for awareness. Incorporate this awareness into your negotiation techniques.
Submission and nervousness
Someone fidgeting, excessively changing position and constantly touching his hair, parts of his face, etc., can show nervousness or irritation. Some people use a briefcase to provide a shield between themselves and others.
It is important not to make a judgment of the behavior of a person, just simply to note it, again if the behavior changes simply note the change but do not place meaning on it.
People can have different ways of sitting, standing, placing their arms, etc because it is comfortable for them, without there being any insidious motive behind that posture.
If you acknowledge one of the NLP Presuppositions that everyone is doing the best they can with the resources they have at that particular time, then you approach any interaction with a positive intent. This approach is important to your negotiation techniques.
Respect for the other person will always mean a better process and thus a better outcome
What you focus on will eventuate, consequently, if you pre-frame that any behavior whether verbal or nonverbal in a negotiation process will be positive, this will send out empowering energies, and the end result will be a win-win for all parties. This is the outcome you desire from all your negotiation techniques.