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Men Negotiate More Aggressively With Women After Trump’s Election And What Women Can Do About It

By Avery Blank
Negotiating aggressively

Negotiating aggressively

This article was originally published on Forbes.


I help people advocate for themselves and leverage opportunities.

Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.


According to a controlled study by Wharton professor Corrine Low, men’s negotiation styles towards women became more aggressive after the 2016 U.S. presidential election. In a paper called “Trumping Norms” to be published next month in the American Economics Review, Low and her co-author Jennie Huang found that the “number of men who used a ‘hard commitment’ negotiation strategy against” women– using a take it or leave it approach – “went up by 140 percent from the pre-election sample.” Low says this number is “huge” based on her experience.

Knowing that the chances are now greater that men will be more aggressive towards women in negotiation, you can better advocate for and position yourself. Here are six ways to help respond to hardball male negotiation tactics that can lessen his aggressiveness and maintain your power:

Mentally prepare for tough talk.

Be prepared that he might use a “hard commitment” negotiation strategy, a “take it or leave it” approach. Visualize this scenario, and think about how you might respond. Play the scenario in your head a few times to start getting used to it. The more familiar you become with this type of situation, the more comfortable and less stressed you will feel when you are presented with it.

Don’t sit across from each other.

Sitting across from someone can set up an adversarial situation. To allow for a more cordial environmental, sit side-by-side or work at the corner of the table.

Stay calm.

Don’t add fuel to the fire. If he is aggressive towards you, do not be aggressive back. Try to stay calm. Being mentally prepared for hostile discourse can help you remain composed.

Keep quiet, but ask questions.

Limit the amount you speak. Silence, particularly in negotiations, can make the other party uncomfortable. They will want to know what you are thinking. Silence can create self-doubt and lessen their boldness towards you.

When you speak, ask questions. If you are in salary negotiations for a global position and believe the other party has lowballed you, you could ask, “Have you considered the travel and off hour work that this role entails?” Help them realize that the position is worth more than they are offering.

In asking questions, you are listening and seeking to understand. Asking questions helps build trust and can minimize aggressive behavior. It can also lead to information and insights that you can leverage.

Know what you can leverage.

Know what he wants and what you want. Before you meet, write down your goals. What is it that you really want? What are your nonnegotiables? Through prior research and asking questions, identify what he wants. What is his goal? Does it have to do with money, or is it something else?

In your pre-meeting research, look at more than his professional career. Get a complete picture. Where did he go to school? What are his hobbies? Identifying commonalities or personal synergies can help to establish an emotional connection between the parties and cut through abrasive negotiation tactics.

Know when to walk away.

There may be instances in which the other party will not back down and want to keep you backed up against the wall. Walk away. Do not let the aggression escalate, and do not let him lessen your worth. While you may walk away without getting what you want, don’t let him walk away with your dignity.

Political events influence human behavior and, in turn, can effect your professional interactions and career advancement.  Know that, in the current environment, men may try to negotiate harder, and be ready for it.

Have you been a party to aggressive negotiations? How do you advocate for yourself and maintain your power? Share with me your stories and thoughts in the comments section below or via Twitter or LinkedIn.

Avery Blank is a millennial impact strategist, women’s advocate, and lawyer who helps others to strategically position and advocate for themselves to achieve individual and organizational goals.