Where We Negotiate: How to Use Place and Space to Your Advantage

When it comes to negotiations, everyone wants to have an advantage. How can we ensure that we get one leg up on the competition? There is ample research to suggest that space and location can influence the outcome of a negotiation. Just as in sports, there is something to be gained in negotiations with the home turf advantage. However, it’s not just about the location itself. The room design and setup of the space can also level up your effectiveness in negotiations. Here we will take a closer look at how the location and use of the space can improve one’s influence and persuasive abilities. 

Negotiating on Home Turf

When you are in your own office, you get to control the environment. This means you can control the seating arrangement, the layout of the room, and even who gets to attend the meeting. You also get the psychological comfort of negotiating in a familiar environment. If you are at ease, you will be able to maximize your negotiating effectiveness. People also tend to fight harder on their home turf, as is often the case in sports. Here are a few ways you can make a home field negotiation work in your favor. 


Impress: When the other party comes to your office, you get the chance to put on a display of your strengths. Given your level of comfort on home court, you will likely be more comfortable and confident, and your confidence will be impressive. You can also display awards, certificates, and diplomas on your office wall, which can portray you in an impressive light.  If you are able to impress the other party, you may have an easier time getting concessions from them. 

Room Design

You may not realize it, but a room’s design can have an impact on your discussions. The physical appearance of the room can set the mood and tone for negotiation. For example, windows that allow natural light along with adequate lighting in the space can create a sense of calm. You also want to make sure there is good airflow so everyone is comfortable. If not, people may find themselves making concessions just to get out of the room. 


In most negotiations, people tend to be seated directly across the table from their counterparts. However, this can be more adversarial and there are better options that lead to better collaboration. For example, you can create a more harmonious environment by having people from opposite parties sitting next to each other. You can also try seating the group in a circle, as this can avoid any sense of hierarchy and can lead to more inclusive discussions. Circles are great for bringing people together.  


Proxemics is a branch of study that focuses on how humans view and interpret the use of space. Oftentimes, despite our knowledge, the space and location around us can have a direct impact on our behavior, communication, and social interactions. Given that all of these elements are present in a negotiation, it is important to consider your space and location in order to maximize negotiation efficiency.