You can’t ever underestimate the value of face-to-face interaction. The benefits are many: you can bounce ideas off others, unlocking creativity that might not otherwise be accessed via email or text; you can gain more information when negotiating a deal, or you can simply gauge whether someone really likes that idea you floated. There’s just no substitute for being able to read someone’s body language.

But while everyone can pick up on the well-known signals like folded arms, that makes them equally easy to disguise, especially for a seasoned negotiator. The key to successfully interpreting someone’s true feelings lies in their face, says Kasia Wezowski in the Harvard Business Review. No matter how good a negotiator you are, there are micro-signals your face gives off that are much harder to conceal… but also much harder to interpret because they only last a fraction of a second.

According to Wezowski, learning to recognise and act upon these tiny hints can be the difference between a successful outcome and a failure. After all, how does someone fake a signal they don’t even know they’re giving?

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