is social image, reputation or status and the preservation of face is critical to a successful collaborative negotiation process.

We’ve all been in a situation where someone has said or done something that has made us feel diminished. It could be exposing an error, breaching confidences about something we said or did, or recalling an embarrassing situation. When our face is threatened, we tend to move away from cooperation or collaboration and move towards defensiveness and competitiveness. In a negotiation situation, this will result in an inferior agreement or in a stalemate.

As skilled negotiators, it is in our interest to help the other side save face. At the same time, we need to be aware of our own reactions and work to build a thicker skin so that our face doesn’t have a negative impact on the negotiations.

You can measure a negotiators face-saving needs by using a scale called the Face Threat Sensitivity (FTS) scale. People with high FTS are easily upset or angered and people with low FTS have lower emotional reactions and fair better in tough negotiations. To measure your  FTS, ask these three simple questions:

  1. Do I respond well to direct criticism
  2. Do my feelings get hurt easily
  3. Am I pretty thin skinned


Here are a few Face Saving strategies.

Grow a thicker skin for yourself, learn the art of helping the other side save face and all of your negotiations will go smoother and more successfully. You owe it to your clients to be the most skilled negotiator you can be.