The size of your face may determine how you'll act during a negotiation

The size of your face may determine how you’ll act during a negotiation

Image Credit: julien haler

I wish that there was a way that when I first met the other side of the negotiating table that I could instantly size them up and know what negotiation styles, negotiating techniques I should use with them. I’d like to know how they were going to approach this negotiation: were they going to be an aggressive “winner take all” negotiator or a let’s find a way to make this work” one? It turns out that some researches just might have come up with a simple way to figure this out before the negotiating begins…

It’s All In The Face

Thank goodness for those researchers – they are always looking into the things that you and I never seem to have enough time to play around with. In this case the researchers were studying how men negotiate. More specifically, they were talking a look at the differences in negotiating styles between men with wide faces and men with narrow faces.

What they discovered was that men with wide faces tend to enter into a negotiation with a more competitive approach than men who have narrow faces. When we say a wide face, what we are talking about is someone who has a bigger facial width to facial height ratio. These types of negotiators tend to do very well in negotiations that involve obvious winners and losers.

Not to get all negative or anything like that, but previous research has shown that men who have wide faces are often considered aggressive, self-interested, and may even tend to be unethical at times. Where things get very interesting is when negotiations that require compromise and the creating of creative solutions, these wide-faced men do not fare as well as their narrow faced colleagues.

How You Can Change Your Face

All of this discussion about face width brings up an awkward discussion: are we all prisoners of our face? Does our face determine how we will negotiate in our next negotiation? More importantly, does our face give away how we negotiate to the other side of the table? Will we need to wear a bag over our head to our next negotiation?

The answer to these questions is, of course, no. What all of this research does mean is that the next time that you enter into a negotiation, you should take just a moment and look at what the other side of the table’s head looks like. If it comes across as being wide, then you should anticipate a more continuous negotiation.

If it turns out that you do have a wide face, that’s not the end of the story. Instead, knowing that the other side may anticipate that you will be a continuous negotiator simply because of your face, you can change things. Change your approach and become more cooperative and you’ll have a very good change of throwing them off their game from the start of the negotiations.

What All Of This Means For You

When you enter into your next principled negotiation you sure would like to know what kind of opponent you are going up against. Based on some research that has been done lately, it turns out that this just might be possible by taking a look at your opponent’s face.

What the researchers have found is that men with wide faces tend to take a more competitive approach to a negotiation. This can help them come out on top in negotiations that have clear winners and losers. However, if a negotiation calls for compromise and creative solutions, then wide faced men often run into problems. Once you know what your own face looks like, you can make a decision to change how you’ll be perceived.

I’m not sure if your negotiating style can really be traced to how wide your face is. However, we can’t argue with research results and so there could be some interesting additional things that go along with someone who just happens to have a wide face that may determine their negotiating style. No matter, take a look at the other side’s face before you start negotiating next time and see if you can guess what their negotiating style is going to be…

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Negotiating Skills™

Question For You: If you don’t have a wide face, do you think that you can still do well in a negotiation?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Negotiator Blog is updated.

P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Negotiator Newsletter are now available. Learn what you need to know to do the job. Subscribe now: Click Here!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Guess what? You’ve been asked to participate in a negotiation. Great. Now what do you need to do in order to prepare for this negotiation? One thing that you are going to want to give some thought to is just exactly how you are going to be able to convince the other side of the table that your position is the right position no matter what negotiation styles or negotiating techniques are being used. This is going to take some serious convincing. It turns out that you won’t be able to do this by yourself – you’re going to need some documentation.

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How you prepare for a negotiation can determine the outcome

How you prepare for a negotiation can determine the outcome
Image Credit: Thomas Edwards

What we’d all like to have in our next negotiation is more control. The big question is how can get this? It turns out that the answer is fairly simple: we need to do a better job of preparing for the negotiation than the other side does. A big part of this preparation is obtaining information about who we will be negotiating with.

Why Is Knowing The Other Side So Important?

Getting ready for a negotiation takes a lot of work. There is the identification of all of the issues, understanding what concessions you’ll be willing to make, clearly laying out what kind of deal that you are looking for, etc. Why the heck should we spend even more time researching the people that we’ll be negotiating with?

When you go into your next negotiation you need to know who you’ll be negotiating with if you want to any hope of getting that deal that you want. The things that you need to know include what the backgrounds of the other negotiators are. One of the most important things that you are going to want to find out about them is what their negotiating track record is: what has happened during other negotiations? You’ll also want to know what negotiation styles and negotiating techniques they like to use.

The reason that you are so interested in finding out as much information as you can about who you will be negotiating with is because any kind of insights that you can gain regarding the people that you’ll be negotiating with can help you to get a better deal. What every negotiation really comes down to is two sets of people talking with each other. This means that the more that you know about them, then the better prepared you will be to get the deal that you want. If it turns out that you know more about them then they know about you, then you are probably going to walk away with the best deal.

How Can You Find Out About The Other Side?

If I’ve convinced you that taking the time to find out as much as you can about the other side of the table is a good thing to do, then the next logical question is how can you go about doing this? One of the best ways to go about doing this is to actually talk to someone who has negotiated with them in the past. This can’t possibly be their first negotiation, so find that other person and ask them what they learned about their opponent.

We are living in the 21st Century and what this means to you is that there are a lot of different ways to get information about the people that you’ll be negotiating with. An obvious source is the Internet. But if you are going to be negotiating with a lawyer, then don’t forget to check with the Bar Association or perhaps the Better Business Bureau.

One of the best sources of information about the person that you’ll be negotiating with can come from other people who work with them. If you are having meeting with people who work for the other side’s company in order to set up your negotiations, then ask them about the people that you’ll be negotiating with. Key questions include how they make decisions and do they move fast or slow.

What All Of This Means For You

In order to get the deal that you want out of your next principled negotiation, you need to prepare for the negotiation better than the other side does. What this means is that you need to take the time to learn everything that you can about the people that you’ll be negotiating with.

The reason that knowing about the people that you’ll be negotiating with is so important is because the more insights that you have, the better your outcome will be. Knowing what motivates the other side allows you to score more points during the negotiation. Getting the information that you need is straightforward. Talking with others who have negotiated with them is a good place to start. Next, searching on the Internet and checking with professional associations will also help.

Any negotiation that you participate in is going to require time, energy, and effort on your part. It makes sense that you’ll want to do everything possible to get the best results. Take the time to discover everything that you can about who you’ll be negotiating with and you’ll boost your chances of getting the deal that you want.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Negotiating Skills™

Question For You: Do you think that you should hire people to find out more about who you will be negotiating with?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Negotiator Blog is updated.

P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Negotiator Newsletter are now available. Learn what you need to know to do the job. Subscribe now: Click Here!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

I wish that there was a way that when I first met the other side of the negotiating table that I could instantly size them up and know what negotiation styles, negotiating techniques I should use with them. I’d like to know how they were going to approach this negotiation: were they going to be an aggressive “winner take all” negotiator or a let’s find a way to make this work” one? It turns out that some researches just might have come up with a simple way to figure this out before the negotiating begins…

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