Face It, Men's Looks Matter In Negotiation

It may not be just your skills that determine how good a negotiator you are. Your looks may be playing a role, too.

Compared to men with more narrow faces, men with wider faces are better negotiators in some instances and worse in others, according to a new study from the University of California, Riverside's School of Business Administration.

The research revealed that having a wider face helps men when they negotiate for themselves, but hurts them when they are negotiating in a situation that requires compromise.

Researchers came to their conclusions after studying four separate simulations they set up. In one, they found that men with wider faces negotiated a signing bonus of nearly $2,200 more than men with a narrower face.

In another scenario, they discovered that men with wider faces who were charged with selling a chemical plant negotiated a higher sales price than men with a more narrow face. Additionally, when those same wide-faced men were in the buyer's role they negotiated a lower price than the narrow-faced men.

Wider-faced men don't always find themselves as winners in negotiations, however. In a third scenario developed by researchers, in which a creative solution was needed to bridge a gap in a real estate transaction, wider-faced men were less successful in the negotiation.

"These studies show that being a man with a wider face can be both a blessing and a curse and awareness of this may be important for future business success," Michael Haselhuhn, a UC Riverside assistant professor of management and co-author of the study, said in a statement.

The research also revealed that good-looking men, regardless of facial size, have a leg up in negotiations. In the final situation, research assistants were given a series of questions to access the attractiveness and beauty of the research subjects.

The male participants were paired off and given the same scenario as before in which they needed to come up with a creative solution in a real estate transaction. The researchers found that the more attractive men were more successful in the negotiation.

Haselhuhn believes the most recent findings are valuable to everybody. He said people negotiate every day, whether they think about it or not.

"It's not just the big things, like a car or a home." Haselhuhn said. "It's what time your kid is going to go to bed or what you or your spouse are going to have for dinner."

The study, co-authored by UC Riverside's Elaine Wong, the London Business School's Margaret Ormiston and M. Ena Inesi, and Adam Galinsky of Columbia University, was recently published online in The Leadership Quarterly journal.

Originally published on Business News Daily