How Monkeys Can Make You a Better Negotiator


Negotiation strategy is one of those areas of business the people treat like it's a religion. Everyone has their opinions, is convinced they are right, and has tons of anecdotal evidence to back them up. Regardless of whether you take the hardline approach, something softer and more win-win, or something tricky, a new research paper explains how to get the most out of your negotiation. The secret? Mimic the mannerisms of the other party.

According to the research, "mimickers created more value and then claimed most of that additional value for themselves, though not at the expense of their opponents." Of the test negotiations, 67% of the negotiators who mimicked their counterparty closed the deal, compared to 12.5% of the non-mimickers. But, a word to the wise – keep it subtle. Obvious mimicking may be interpreted as mocking instead.

  • This is research that’s been around quite a while. It’s taught in several sales and negotiating courses and under the banner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). The trick, as you note, is not to be too obvious.