The Power Of Body Language

Nonverbal communication, including body language, plays a crucial role curing conflict resolution situations including negotiations and mediation sessions.  Because it occurs primarily subconsciously, people can dismiss it's importance.

Research has time and again proven the effect nonverbal communication can have during interactions with other people in a variety of settings.  For example, during negotiations,unconscious mimicry is connected with favorable negotiation outcomes. Unconscious mimicry is connect to people who possess empathy.  Research on on empathy shows a great deal of it is related to nonverbal channels.

Following me? :)  If you are interested in reading more about mimicry, see my recent article [HERE].

Regardless, I think many will find this  TED Talk video by Amy Cuddy worthy of watching.


Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy shows how “power posing” -- standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident -- can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on our chances for success.
Amy Cuddy’s research on body language reveals that we can change other people’s perceptions — and even our own body chemistry — simply by changing body positions. Full bio »
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Should You Just Let Him Smoke That Cigarette?

The negotiation ended before it began:
Landing in Tokyo, he asked how a previous session, conducted by his boss, Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, had gone. Not well, Mr. Richardson learned. Dr. Albright’s Japanese counterpart requested permission to smoke, she lectured him on the dangers of tobacco, and things never improved from there.

This is just one fascinating anecdote from Bill Richardson in a fantastic piece written by Jodi Kantor for the NY Times in 2007.  It is well worth reading, specifically looking at things from your conflict resolution specialists lens.  Another gem from the article includes:

Instead, Mr. Richardson practices diplomacy as contact sport, whizzing from country to country, conflict to conflict, and charming, insulting, even touching his way through negotiations. (After he persuaded Saddam Hussein in 1995 to release two American aerospace workers who had wandered into Iraq, Mr. Richardson reached over to clap the dictator on the arm, causing Mr. Hussein’s men to reach for their guns.)

Enjoy the rest of the article [HERE].
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