Podcast: Why you shouldn’t be afraid of silence during a negotiation

Melbourne Business School Podcast | Click here to listen

People usually assume that silence during a negotiation is an intimidation tactic, but new research shows it can actually lead to more collaborative outcomes. Melbourne Business School Associate Professor of Management Jennifer Overbeck and MIT Sloan Gordon Kaufman Professor of Management Jared Curhan spoke with Yasmin Rupesinghe about their findings on the latest episode of the Melbourne Business School Podcast. “When you ask people, ‘what’s your intuition about what happens when someone goes silent in a negotiation’, they report that they think the other person is trying to get into my head, they’re trying to wear me down, to play mind games with me,” says Associate Professor Overbeck. “So, almost certainly what would happen if somebody went silent in a negotiation is that the other person would get freaked out and give away a lot of the value in that negotiation. “Instead, we’ve done at this point quite a few studies, and repeatedly what we have found is that silence seems to provide the negotiator an opportunity to pause and to sort of tamp down the heat of competition in the negotiation, and just take a little bit of mental space that allows the opportunity for collaboration to move to the fore.”

By MIT Sloan CDO