Can “making yourself at home” turn you into a better negotiator?

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Even if you’re not on home turf, making it more your own can give you some of the home field advantage when you negotiate. From Inside Influence:

The researchers used a clever methodology to manipulate “occupancy status”—in other words, whether the negotiators were “residents” in their home territory or were “visitors” in their opponent’s territory. To give residents a sense of ownership over their territory, before the negotiation began, residents were taken to a private office, where they were asked to: (1) write their name on a board outside the office, (2) choose the chair they wanted to sit in; (3) select some posters and postcards to place around the office; (4) fill out a schedule of their upcoming activities on a whiteboard; (5) use the internet on the office computer; and (6) hold onto the key to the office. While the residents completed these tasks, visitors were placed in a temporary location and were told that the negotiation would take place in their opponents’ office, which the resident supposedly had for a completely unrelated task. Once the residents were ready, visitors were brought in for the negotiation.

Consistent with their home field advantage hypothesis, Brown and Baer found that residents outperformed visitors. In other words, buyers succeeded in negotiating a lower price when they were residents compared to when they were visitors, and sellers succeeded in negotiating a higher price when they were residents compared to when they were visitors.

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