Small talk before negotiation yields benefits

Washington, June 21 (IANS) Having a little chat before negotiation can help men seal big deals. Small talk can build social capital for men and increases their likelihood of beneficial gains from negotiation, says new research.

“We saw a boost in positive negotiation outcomes for men when they engaged in small talk before the negotiation,” said Alexandra Mislin from American University’s Kogod School of Business.

“Even a little small talk contributed to getting a better deal,” Mislin added.

However, the same is not true for women.

Thus, in a salary negotiation with one’s employer, the team finds that people negotiating employment contracts, particularly men, think twice before skipping the small talk

“While both men and women may experience benefits from small talk when negotiating salary, men might walk away with a better deal,” Mislin said.

Because women are expected to be more communicative, they are anticipated to make small talk and thus earn no extra social capital for engaging in “chit chat” before a negotiation.

“It’s not as notable a behaviour when a woman makes small talk,” Mislin added.

But the same communal behaviour from men is unexpected, and thus contributes to more positive perception of men as well as more favourable final offers.

The study appeared in the Basic and Applied Social Psychology

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