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Why You Should Avoid Face-To-Face Negotiations With Your Boss

Update Date: Apr 10, 2013 06:05 AM EDT

Thinking about asking your boss for a raise? Instead of asking face-to-face, you should think about negotiating over the phone or through video chat.

Researchers presenting at the Annual Conference of the British Psychological Society in Harrogate April 10 found that people should avoid face-to-face meetings if they're negotiating with someone who has more power.

Researcher Michael Taylor from Imperial College London and his team conducted two studies in which the same negotiation was conducted face-to-face and in a sophisticated 3D virtual simulation.

The first study involved 74 people who participated in a two-sided negotiation in which one party had more power than the other.  The second study involved 63 people who participated in a three-sided negotiation where they were playing the part of people at different levels in a hierarchy.

The findings revealed that in the first study, the side with less power did better in the virtual negotiations than the face-to-face ones.  In the second study, the least powerful side again outperformed the other two in the virtual negotiations but not in the face-to-face ones.

"It looks as though it is a good idea for less powerful parties to negotiate from remote locations rather than face-to-face," Taylor said in a news release.

"When people negotiate from further apart, it affects their whole way of thinking. This can mean the contextual details of the negotiations, such as power hierarchies, have less impact on the outcome. This has implications for team negotiation and shared decision-making in the workplace," he explained. 

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