Scientists Prove Feminine Charms Increase Negotiation Success

Yes, you read that right.  According to The Independent (a UK newspaper):

Feminine charm [a combination of friendliness and flitation] is a strategic behaviour aimed at making the person you are negotiating with feel good in order to get them to agree to your goals,” says Dr Kray. . . . . Researchers believe the evolutionary roots of the technique lie in the Catch-22 situation women face in many day-to-day negotiations. In order to succeed in a male-dominated world they have to adopt a masculine style, which is not liked. But failure to do so makes them appear less competent. Feminine charm allows women to mitigate the antipathy aroused by their male-like behaviour when negotiating.

Without time to review the study, I have to take the article at face value.  According to the article, women who used their “feminine charm” were able to achieve results 20% better than those who were merely friendly.  Hmmm, I wonder how they were able to control their study participants’ behaviors to make them consistent.  Anyhow, the “cynical me” believe the public/media will believe the lessons to learn from this study are:

  • Ladies, use your mojo to your advantage
  • Men, you sex hounds, watch out when the ladies compliment you (nice tie, great suit, etc), they are simply playing you

Dare I say, this sounds like the basic story line several bad sitcom episodes – Gilligan’s Island or Three’s Company anyone?  Also, will we be teaching flirting as a competitive negotiation behavior from now on? I’ll be interested to hear the discussion this generates in my negotiation class this year.  Here’s hoping it’s more than “duh.”

Hat tip – She Negotiates at forbes.com

4 thoughts on “Scientists Prove Feminine Charms Increase Negotiation Success”

  1. I don’t think a scientific study was necessary to know this fact. This is another version of “sex sells”. Being “charming” is just another word for “suggestive sexuality”. Nothing new under the sun.

    But yes, it works…

  2. But what about the less attractive female? Will this still work? I think female negotiators should not focus on charm unless that is her nature ordinarily. Nor should she try to be masculine. Studies I have read reflect that women are just as compentent at negotiating as men and they don’t need to take a “sex sells” or masculine approach to succeed. I believe Dr. Kray is selling sex to sell magazines/his work.

  3. @Kendall

    I believe firmly that they don’t have to take an “approach” as such. It usually just happens so. There are many women who pre-meditate this but many who do not. The pre-meditation is obvious to shrewd discrimination.

    But I agree with you about the masculine approach. It is a turn-off in most cases but you can tell it is a “copying” of sorts and not the true nature which is a detectable fact. This will hurt a negotiation more than anything.

    At the end of the day it all just varies from individual to individual and it is difficult to make a credible sweeping generaliztion.

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