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Angry Faces Win Negotiations

by Jeff Thompson
July 2014

Enjoy Mediation Blog by Jeff Thompson

Jeff Thompson

A recent study caught my attention as it deals with two of my favorite topics- negotiation and nonverbal communication. Previous research has connected the two with respect to:

The importance of small talk & rapport

Overall impact of nonverbal communication

Slowing things down

Getting a baseline of nonverbal behaviors

The impact of warm drinks and hard chairs

The impact of a negotiator's tone of voice

Sharing a meal shares gains

The ideal environment for a negotiation according to trainers

This current study, conducted at Harvard, connects when negotiator makes an angry facial expression with greater gains.

From redorbit:

Research has found that facial expressions can convey more information than verbal communication alone and a new Harvard University study has found that an angry glare can add effectiveness to a negotiator’s demands.

Published in Psychological Science, the study found that an angry glare adds additional gravity to a negotiator’s threat to walk away from the talks. The researchers also saw that the glared-at party tended to offer more money than they otherwise would have.

The researchers said they went into their study with the theory that an angry expression would add credibility to a person’s demands – and make it more believable that they would walk away if their demands weren’t met.

Read more about the study and the findings [HERE].

Biography


Jeff Thompson, Ph.D., is a professor at Lipscomb University, researcher, mediator, and trainer. He is also involved in crisis and hostage negotiation as well as a law enforcement detective. His research includes law enforcement crisis and hostage negotiation in terrorist incidents. He received his doctorate from Griffith University Law School having researched the impact nonverbal communication has in conflict situations with respect to developing rapport, building trust, and displaying professionalism.

Dr. Thompson has presented and trained on the topic of conflict, mediation, (crisis and hostage) negotiation, communication and nonverbal communication internationally for a variety of audiences including police personnel, government officials, judges, attorneys, physicians, sales people, business professionals, and both graduate and undergraduate students. He has also been published in numerous professional and academic publications.

He is the co-chair of ACR's national Crisis Negotiation Section, and he is an ad-hoc reviewer for multiple academic journals. He received his MS in Negotiation and Dispute Resolution from the Werner Institute, Creighton University School of Law.

(All posts by Jeff Thompson represent his personal reflections and opinions and not that of any organization.)



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