Work Up a Sweat, and Bargain Better

The New York Times:

If better health isn’t enough incentive to take a brisk walk, perhaps there is another one: it may get you a better deal.

New research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology offers a twist on the adage “never let them see you sweat,” says Jared Curhan, associate professor of organization studies at M.I.T.’s Sloan School of Management, and one of the study’s co-authors. “If you’re sweating, and your heart rate is up, it’s seen as a sign something is going wrong, that you’re too nervous, off-balance, flustered,” he said. “Whereas we’re showing that something could be very right.”

Professor Curhan and his colleagues found that a person who negotiates while moving — say, pacing while bargaining over job terms on the cellphone — can see improved results. But there is, of course, a rub. The better outcomes seen with exertion tend to come only to people who are confident heading into the negotiation in the first place. If, instead, they are nervous, walking may actually hamper performance.

The study, published recently in the journal Psychological Science, involved two experiments. One compared the experience of subjects who negotiated to buy a car on a cellphone while walking briskly on a treadmill (their heart rates averaged 117 beats a minute) against the experience of others who walked at a more modest pace (88 beats a minute).

Read the whole story: The New York Times

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