Guess What? If You're a Woman, You're Far More Likely to be Deceived in a Negotiation

It probably shouldn't come as a surprise but men are more likely to deceive women in negotiations than other men.

The real shocker is that women do this, too.

According to a new study, women face dishonesty more in negotiations than men.  That's because it's perceived that women are easier to deceive.  By both men and women.

Researchers have found that women are usually at a real disadvantage during negotiations.

Think back to your own sessions with someone when you're trying to get something you want.  Maybe a job.  On the interview you have everything all lined up, your portfolio, background information on the company and possibly the people you will be talking to, the company's expectations and requirements for the job.  You arrive on time.  You're dressed appropriately.  You feel pretty confident.

And then the meeting starts and you're suddenly at a loss.  Or, this is what happens to me.  I go in, answer all the questions, like the interviewer and she seems to like me.  And then we get to salary demands and I fall apart.

Maybe it goes back to childhood, when I never felt quite good enough, or just the fact of that typical female need, to please everyone.   But I start dissembling and saying, "I'm willing to negotiate," which, everyone knows, means, I'll take whatever you want to pay me.

In a recent job interview, I said a figure (actually lower than what I usually get) and immediately felt my palms get sweaty and my heart start beating like a rabbit in my chest.  The interviewer hesitated and I said, "Oh, I'll go lower if you want."  (She was actually hesitating because I didn't ask for enough, I found out later.)

I got the job, but not before the men involved drastically lowered the sum.  Which I accepted gratefully.

So why do we do this? Actually adhere to others' perceptions of us when it comes to our own value?

It's actually more about the negotiator than the negotiatee (is that a word?).  Low expectations for a negotiator’s competence drove deceptive intent, reports. Perceptions of “warmth” - or likability – reduced deceptive intent, even though warm negotiators were perceived as easier to mislead.  I'm very likable.  That's one thing I have going for me.  You could even say I'm "warm."  But that just pushes me to be more agreeable, to want them to like me more, so I'm not sure it works in my favor.
In one of the studies, researchers found that negotiators admitted to being deceitful to 22 percent of the women, compared to just 5 percent of the men. Women at the negotiating table were perceived as easier to deceive than men, so negotiators felt less guilt (and deceived more?) as the fear of being caught dissipated.

“Two experiments were simple scenario studies where we put people in a hypothetical situation where they imagined they had something to sell,” says Jessica Kennedy, co-author of the new research. “Then we manipulated only the name of the potential buyer. We measured a number of different things, and what kept popping up is people expected women to be easier to mislead than men.”

She adds that men and women alike are poor at detecting deception, but women are better at decoding nonverbal cues than men, though no better at catching a liar.

 There is some good news, however.  If you take notes, persistently question information, ask for verification from multiple sources, write critical things in contracts and signal a willingness to retaliate for deception, the risk of deception markedly declines.

I'll take notes, that's not a problem.  But the other stuff?  I'll have to work on that.


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