Touching your face or the notch above your sternum is called a “pacifying behavior.”
It’s something you do to reassure yourself when you feel anxious. Touching your face gives you a small but significant boost of dopamine. It’s why dogs like to be petted. Petting does the same thing with them.
The administrators and executives you work with understand that when they see you do this, you’re nervous. They’re trained to pick up such cues and use them against you.
They’ll see you as weak and unsure—and they’ll use that information to take advantage.
If you’re negotiating or in a confrontation, find yourself a behavior that won’t reveal your inner thoughts. Curling your toes in your shoes is one that’s commonly taught.
Keep your hands visible and still or moving slowly. As we’ve discussed before, don’t hook your feet around your chair. And try to speak slowly as well.
You conversation partner or negotiating opponent will notice the difference—even if subliminally—and treat you with more respect.
And you’ll have a better chance of getting what you want.