Last week we learned how to leverage your body language to show interest in a discussion by tilting your head. And by doing so, we showed how to draw an emotional response from the other party you are negotiating with. This week, we discuss a small but powerful body language reaction to master and read, eye blinking. Want to be able to increase your ability to read lies? Want to control your nervous uncontrolled body language? Read on.
Mastering your body language and non-verbals is a discipline you MUST pay attention to and that you MUST work on to improve your negotiations. This post is the fourth of 7 that will focus on the key body language skills you need to excel at in negotiations.
This series will cover:
- The Handshake
- Posture and Seating
- Head Tilting
- Eye Blinking
- Eye Movement
- Hand Use
The eyes are not called the windows to the soul for nothing! Your eyes reveal a great deal about how you may be feeling or about whether what you’re saying is true. It’s quite common for professional poker players to wear dark glasses to hide the ‘tells’ that they cannot control. These ‘tells’ are essentially our bodies relaying information through non-verbal expression to the person we’re communicating with.
Why Do People Blink?
Your eye lids blink as a protection mechanism. Every time you blink, a special blend of oils and secretions gets spread across the top of your eyes to avoid them drying out. Blinking also protects the eyes from something damaging from flying into them or from bright lights.
What Does Blinking Communicate?
Your blinking could be communicating a number of things, but for our purposes we’re going to cover 2 major types of blinking you need to be aware of.
- Slow Blinking – When someone is blinking slowly, as if they’re blinking in slow motion, it may be a sign that they are losing interest in what you’re saying. Quite often, if someone is doing this type of slow blinking you’ll see a raised eyebrow as if to express disagreement. Recognizing this response in your own body language will allow you to readjust your body language and recover to a ‘interested’ position by leaning in and tilting your head. If you identify this response in someone else, you’re losing them. They’ve become disinterested with your presentation. As a salesperson when making a presentation or a pitch, knowing this information will allow you to adjust your presentation to get your audience to refocus on what you are saying.
- Fast Blinking – Eye blinking tends to increase as stress increases. This makes sense, because as we’ve learned, blinking is a protection mechanism and if the body is stressed, then the eyes respond. BE CAUTIOUS. Just because someone is blinking fast doesn’t mean they are lying. It means it is more probable that they are lying. In order to know whether they are lying, you’ll need to test your observation by forcing them into a situation where they have to lie and then watching the eye movement to know if it matches the situation where you observed rapid eye blinking. Additionally, observe the other body language cues that the other party is displaying. Have they turned their heads? Are they averting their vision? Are they squirming in their chair? Has their posture slumped? I think it’s important to note now that no body language signal should be viewed in isolation. You MUST observe the entire body to make a more accurate reading of the message that’s being communicated. This takes practice and a lot of role playing to get better at.
Eye blinking is a powerful body language signal to learn to master and identify. But, as I’ve said, you need to test your observations and view them in combination with other body language cues that are being given off.