The Wall Street Journal shares some fascinating new research on the art of negotiation. Apparently, when you make your initial salary ask, it’s better to avoid zeros and go for a more precise number:

When negotiating for a salary, most of us reach for a nice, round number like $65,000. Or $90,000. Or $120,000. But, by favoring all those zeros, we may be missing an opportunity to score a better deal, according to a new paper from researchers at Columbia Business School. They found that using more precise numbers in an initial request—or anchor, as it is known in negotiating parlance—generally results in a higher final settlement.

Precision conveys the impression that the job candidate has done extensive research and deeply understands the market for his services, said Malia Mason, the lead author of the paper and a professor at Columbia who teaches a course on managerial negotiations. When people use round numbers, by contrast, they’re conveying that they have only a general sense of the market rate for their skills.

Get more 99U tips on becoming a better negotiator here and here.

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