Battle of the Sexes

Visiting Professor Teaches Winning Formula For Cross Gender Negotiations

Do men and women negotiate differently? Who’s the better negotiator? Do non-verbal communications affect cross-gender negotiations? Can both men and women use their strengths to create the results they want?

Toronto, March 29, 2011 –INSEAD, the leading international business school, celebrated women in business with a dynamic seminar titled ‘The Art of Negotiation: Battle of the Sexes’ hosted by Peter Hiddema, Visiting Professor of Decision Sciences at INSEAD. Some 300 participants attended the lively event at INSEAD’s Campus in Singapore celebrating the achievements of women around the world.

‘There are key behavioural differences between men and women in terms of negotiation style and non-verbal communication,’ said Professor Hiddema. ‘For example, men tend to focus more on the content of a negotiation and are more comfortable being competitive, while women generally place significant emphasis on the relationship dynamics and tend to be more collaborative. Neither gender style can be truly regarded as “better”; both men and women possess different strengths and weaknesses in negotiation.’ Professor Hiddema then emphasized that: ‘we must remember gender styles are generalities and are only part of the picture—one also needs to factor in personality, culture, and context.’

A panel discussion followed, featuring Professor Hiddema and Merel Venneman, Principal, Singapore office, Boston Consulting Group; Sonia Cargan, Vice President, Human Resources, East Asia, American Express Co.; as well as Anamah Tan, Immediate Past President of the International Council of Women and member of Advisory Board, UN Women. The panel discussion focused on the art of negotiation as a critical skill for success in business and in life, with an exchange of views on what women and men bring to the table to produce success in negotiations.