The Globe and Mail today says researchers have found that offering a precise number, such as $4,925, resulted in a significantly more deferential counteroffer, due to the perception that a precise opening offer was more reasoned and informed.
While this may be true, negotiators participating in principled negotiation, fostered in mediations, may be asked to explain how they arrived at their offer. Explaining that the offer was intended to get more deference won’t be helpful and will certainly eliminate the hoped-for favourable perception! However, the precise number could perhaps be explained by showing what went into the calculation and that it was not rounded up so as to be seen as completely fair.
Remember, successful mediations involve full and frank disclosure. Be ready to explain and defend your offers, and to ask the other side to do the same.
(The results of the study at Cambridge will appear in a forthcoming issue of Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.)