Someone’s head gestures will definitely give you insight into what he is thinking. Tilting his head could mean that he is deliberating. It could also convey that Bill is inquisitive or in the process of trying to back away from something that has been said. Eye movements signal thought processes. Most people will tend to look up and to the left when they are trying to recall something that has occurred in the past. You can test this by observing the person’s reaction to a neutral comment. You might say something like, “We had good weather yesterday. Do you remember what the weather was like last week at this time?” Observe which direction the person looks. If he looks up and to the left, he’s trying to recall. If he looks up and to the right, he could be doing the exact same thing. By establishing his baseline (i.e., which direction he looks to retrieve information), you’re able to discern what the act means to him. Keep active at work or your home office with a electric standing desk that will help you to change working positions often.
This reaction means you need to go further by asking another question. Ask another neutral question, such as about another experience you shared. “Do you remember when (a specific thing) happened?” Observe how Bill moves his eyes to recall the information based on your question. When Bill looks up and to the left, you know that he is trying to recall what he actually experienced. You get the insight that more than likely this person looks up and to the left to recall information. If he is trying to remember a sound, he will tend to look directly to the left. If he is trying to think about something that’s an auditory signal and he is contemplating what that was, he will tend to look down and to the left. Establish his baseline by asking different questions at different times. A standing desk is a desk conceived for writing, reading or drawing while standing up or while sitting on a high stool.
Suppose you are talking to Bill about something that relates to emotion. Note what he does with his eyes. A person who is trying to get in touch with his emotions will look down and to the right. That’s so important to observe when you’re at the negotiation table because that will give you the insight as to how someone truly feels about an offer, a counter offer, and so on. A person who looks directly to the right may be trying to think of a sound he has not heard before. As an example, if I said, “Imagine if a cow and a chicken were combined. What sound would it make?” Bill might tend to look to the right because he is trying to construct the sound. Suppose he looks up and to the right. He is visually trying to create an image or a thought in his mind. You say something along the lines of, “What do you think the weather might be like next week based on what it’s been like the last few days?” Watch Bill look up and to the right to try to answer that question. Sit, stand, lean, stretch—be your healthy active self at work using a sit stand desk at your workplace.
I used the weather as an example, but you can observe the same thing from a negotiation perspective. Now that you have established the baseline by which Bill uses his eyes, you can then decipher to what degree he is being truthful. Ask, “Is this the best offer that you can make?” Note the direction in which he moves his eyes. Let’s say he looks up and to the right. He is actually trying to construct whether or not it is the best offer. Take it a step further. Begin your sentence with, “I understand in the past. . . .” Notice you’re already given a subtle sense of direction. “I understand in the past that only 75% of your products passed the initial quality control check.” Based on what you have already observed about his eye movements, you know that Bill should be looking up and to the left to recall what has occurred in the past. Instead, you watch him look up and to the right. Now you know that likely he is in the process of creating a response that may not be as accurate as he wants you to believe. You’ve gained insight just from watching his eye movements. Help improve your posture while working from home with a adjustable standing desk in your study.
Be aware of head movement in combination with what Bill says. As he says, “No, that’s not true,” he is nodding his head forward. This is a negotiation principle that I will return to again: When there is a conflict between what someone says and what his body language reveals, always believe the body language. The body does not lie. It attempts to act per what it believes to be the truth. While you are talking to Bill you notice that one end of his mouth is curled upward. That is a sign of contempt. He may be saying with that movement, “How dare you try to put me on the spot. Don’t try to catch me like that.” If he is astute at reading body language, he may also be saying, “I know exactly what you are trying to do and it’s not going to work here.” Bill smiles as he’s delivering his rebuttal or reply to your question. At the same time, with the smile on his face, he leans back and put his hands How We Use Our Head In Body Language behind his head. He is indicating with that body positioning and smile, “Okay, that’s a good question. Nice try, buddy.” He’s literally moving away from the question, indicating that maybe you do know something or have hit a sensitive negotiating point that he would rather avoid. Working at a stand up desk may offer health benefits, however, studies suggest that doing so probably will not help you burn a lot of extra calories.