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What your hair tells others about you

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Negotiation touches every part of our lives. Relationships in business and in our personal lives are negotiated. And the skills to do it effectively can often mean the difference between getting what you want or losing out. You don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate!

In the third section of the book, How to be a Great Negotiator, written by property economist, investor and developer Neville Berkowitz, we discuss and analyse the many different nonverbal, “body language” signals others give us during a negotiation, as well as how our bodies are communicating with the other party.

(Courtesy of PersonalEmpowerment.co)

Upper body


The style, cut, grooming or non-grooming, and uncleanliness or non-cleanliness of hair often indicates what a person is saying and feeling about themselves. Well-groomed, clean, appropriately cut and styled hair generally indicates a person with good self-esteem, or who is at least responsible for his or her appearance and is trying to make a good impression.

Very short hair – traditional warrior or military haircuts – may indicate an aggressive, determined, strong, even rebellious personality in men and women. It may also indicate an athletic lifestyle. Long hair on men may also indicate rebelliousness, rejection of conventional norms, and a non-conformist attitude. Long, unkempt hair on men may indicate unreliability or poor self-image.

Women who periodically toss their long hair back or run their fingers through their hair may be saying, “Look at me and at my face – they are worthy of attention”. Of course, they may also be trying to get their hair out of the way, but studies have shown the former rather than the latter to be the case in one-on-one meetings and even if talking on the telephone! Touching, pulling, or twisting one’s hair may be a sign of uncertainty or frustration.

Obviously dyed hair or a wig may show a person’s insecurity and non-acceptance of themselves as they are, unless there is a medical need. Hair covering the eyes or face may indicate shyness, introversion, or a need to hide behind something. It may also signal possible distrust or deception.

The bare top of the head is usually only seen in males and rarely in females. A bald man may try to compensate for his lack of hair, possibly experienced as a source of embarrassment, by growing a small, well-shaped, and maintained beard. A bald man’s manner of displaying, hiding, or compensating for his baldness is also a nonverbal communication.

A bald man with no facial hair or with eccentric facial hair – especially one who shaves his head – may be aggressively displaying his baldness to “get past” any sense of shame or inadequacy he may feel. An “aggressive display” of baldness may translate into other forms of aggressive social behaviours or indicate an aggressive personality style that may be a factor in a negotiation.

A bald man who grows his hair long on one side and combs it over to “hide” the baldness can indicate someone using denial to cover insecurity. A man with a receding hairline or thinning hair who does not stylistically compensate for hair loss may be totally accepting of his condition, and this may also indicate an accepting nature.


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