From Harvard with Love, Negotiation Insights for Women

I've been fairly athletic my whole life, and watching sports is a natural extension of that passion for me. I've continued to remain pretty current with sports news (especially my fav football and baseball teams), which often comes in handy when I want to quickly bond with new clients outside of my city (or country).

This occasionally means consoling clients on a devastating Sunday Night Football loss during a Monday morning consultation.

Turns out, my effort to establish commonality with a new client by kick-starting a meeting with chit chat about sports (or the weather), does not make me anymore affable. My small talk is expected, because I'm a woman.

Mmmm hmmm... you read that right.

However, when men engage in the same behaviour, they are perceived more favorably. They're seen as making an effort to build a bond.

Say Wha...?

Harvard researchers examined this phenomenon and it's impact on negotiations. Small talk from men resulted in better outcomes, while small talk from women was basically irrelevant.

Here's a snippet:

"...because we tend to expect women to behave communally, we may not punish them for the minor violation of a gender stereotype—electing not to shoot the breeze before negotiating—the authors hypothesize. Women may need to find “other ways than small talk to cultivate a positive regard in their counterparts,” says study author Shaughnessy."

Alright, then. Guess women are allowed to get down to brass tacks much sooner. Same outcome, less time. Perfect.

You can read the whole article here.

Although, I'm not sure I'm ready to let go of my sports banter just about you? Are pro chit chat?

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Tammy Banfield is a professional resume writer and certified career coach who specializes in helping talented and ambitious women advance their careers and find rewarding, fulfilling jobs.

Tammy has helped over 600 career seekers from around the world secure coveted positions. Connect with Tammy on LinkedIn or at her Website. Want to know how to get headhunted? Download my free guide here:

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