Negotiating in Life , Negotiating Tips , Business Negotiation April 13, 2011

Home field advantage in negotiations

It’s not just your favorite baseball team that has a home field advantage. You and your negotiating team will also “play” better on your home turf...

It’s not just your favorite baseball team that has a home field advantage. You and your negotiating team will also “play” better on your home turf. New research backs this up.

Prof. Markus Baer at Washington University in St. Louis, in his study “Location in Negotiation: Is There a Home Field Advantage?” has determined that negotiators who hold discussions “at home” do better. He says:
Parties who negotiate on their home field can be expected to claim between 60 percent and 160 percent more value than the visiting party.

This study is among the first to prove empirically that there is a relationship between location and negotiation outcome. This is crucial information to know if your negotiations take you on the road and off the home field. It also can affect personal negotiations such as salary discussions. Baer says that if you need to negotiate a pay raise it is best not to do it in your boss’ office.

What makes the home field advantage boils down to the confidence bred by being in familiar surroundings.  Baer suggests that increasing your confidence level will help you gain a similar advantage. He says:
Confidence plays a critical role in any negotiation, regardless of where it takes place. Anything a person entering a negotiation can do to boost his or her confidence is a good thing. Something as simple as participating in negotiation training may work to minimize the disadvantage of negotiating on someone else’s home turf. (Emphasis is ours.)

It seems that training, such as Karrass Effective Negotiation seminars, will help “level the playing field.” Still, it is wise to stack the deck in your favor and negotiate at home whenever possible.

You can read more about how Prof. Baer’s research was conducted here.

What are your thoughts about the home field advantage? Have you found that you negotiate better at home? Have you had difficulty when you are at the other party's location?
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