Learn how to negotiate like a diplomat, think on your feet like an improv performer, and master job offer negotiation like a professional athlete when you download a copy of our FREE special report, Negotiation Skills: Negotiation Strategies and Negotiation Techniques to Help You Become a Better Negotiator, from the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School.


online negotiation

What is an Online Negotiation?

An online negotiation allows us to negotiate across the miles cheaply and quickly. Yet this type of negotiation creates special challenges. 

When you communicate in person, social norms – including body language, manners, and physical appearance – guide your behavior and ease the process. However, an online negotiation is fraught with misunderstanding because emotion and tone are difficult to convey. With email, instant messaging, and text messages, negotiators typically lack visual, verbal, and other sensory cues to interpret how their counterpart is feeling. 

This is also true to some extent in videoconferencing, though it does provide some more context than other venues for an online negotiation. Even then, we see less of the other person and their environment than we do when negotiating in person, and we also can’t see what’s going on outside the narrow frame.

However, online negotiations offer unparalleled convenience. It eliminates the costs of meeting face to face, including travel expenses, and opens the possibilities of whom we might be able to negotiate with. 

To overcome the difficulties inherent in an online negotiation, behave as you would for an in-person negotiation. Pay close attention to the other person and don’t use the time to check email, send texts, or engage in other non-negotiation activities. Set yourself up in a professional environment that is free of distractions. Keep your hand gestures within the frame so that your counterpart can see them. 

And just like you would with in-person negotiations, take time at the start of online negotiations to engage in small talk, which could lead you to identify commonalities and see past superficial differences.

To find out more and discover how to negotiate from a social distance, download this free report, Make the Most of Online Negotiations, from Harvard Law School.

We will send you a download link to your copy of the report and notify you by email when we post new negotiation advice and information on our website.

The following items are tagged online negotiation:

Business Skills: Make Concessions Strategically in Negotiation

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Business negotiators generally understand that to get what they want from another party or parties, they will have to give something away. But what concessions should you offer in the deal-making process, and what form should they take? New research on concession making in negotiation offers tips to add to your repertoire of business skills. Finding … Read More 

The 4P Framework for Strategic Negotiation and Leadership

Posted by & filed under 1 Day Courses, executive training.

We all experience emotionally challenging conflicts and negotiations. Whether you are negotiating with your board or with your family, over internal resources or with external partners, as the buyer or as the seller, emotions can turn an otherwise productive negotiation into an unprofitable disaster.It does not have to be that way. In this interactive workshop, … Read More 

How to Counter Offer Successfully With a Strong Rationale

Posted by & filed under Dealmaking.

In negotiation, some justifications are more persuasive than others, research suggests. And learning how to counter offer in the right way can make significant differences in outcomes. For example, imagine that you are a café owner who is soliciting quotes for a redesign of your space. One of the interior designers you’ve been talking to … Read More 

Methods of Dispute Resolution: Building Trust in Online Mediation

Posted by & filed under Dispute Resolution.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, mediators and other negotiation practitioners often insisted on meeting in person, convinced that online methods of dispute resolution lack “the human touch”—the warmth, energy, body language, and other subtle factors that build essential ingredients in conflict resolution, including trust, empathy, and rapport. But when lockdowns and social-distancing restrictions took hold in the … Read More 

Lessons Learned from Teaching Online: Pedagogy in a Pandemic

Posted by & filed under Teaching Negotiation.

The exercises and videos developed for teaching online can also help improve in-person courses. As teachers and trainers around the world are working to transition their courses online and wondering about how their approach to teaching will be altered moving forward, the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC) asked some of our experienced online teachers to share … Read More 

Dear Negotiation Coach: Is There Promise in Online Negotiation?

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

In this edition of Dear Negotiation Coach, Harvard Business School professor Max H. Bazerman describes how online negotiation could increase efficiency and trust in many realms. In-person negotiations can offer advantages over electronic negotiations—for example, in terms of rapport building and value creation. But what advantages might online negotiation have over face-to-face negotiation? Max H. Bazerman: Online … Read More 

The Hidden Pitfalls of Video Negotiation

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

It used to be that when negotiating counterparts were located far apart, one side or the other would need to get in a car, train, or plane if the parties wanted to do business face-to-face. These days, you only need to set up a videoconference on an app such as Zoom or Google Hangouts to … Read More 

Tips for Teaching Simulations Online: Q&A with David Seibel

Posted by & filed under Pedagogy at PON, Teaching Negotiation.

Check out the video from our recent session on teaching simulations online to pick up tips for running negotiation exercises remotely! Apprehensive about using role-play simulations in your remote or online blended course? Pick up tips on how to make simulations run smoothly over video, including how to best manage breakouts, run multiparty simulations, report results, … Read More 

Teaching Online: Negotiation Pedagogy in a Pandemic

Posted by & filed under Pedagogy at PON, Teaching Negotiation.

How do we adapt learning objectives to online instruction? As the Coronavirus spreads around the world, many universities have moved to a remote learning structure with online classes. This raises a very crucial question for instructors: how do you transition a course designed to be in-person into an online format while ensuring students remain engaged and … Read More 

How to Negotiate Online

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

International negotiators are often faced with the problem of how to overcome cultural barriers to communication. When you communicate in person, social norms – including body language, manners, and physical appearance – guide your behavior and ease the process. Here are some tips on how to negotiate online and building a rapport with your counterpart … Read More 

Videoconferencing in Business Negotiation

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

With face-to-face negotiations currently hazardous to our health, businesspeople across the world have switched to Zoom meetings, Skype calls, Google Hangouts, and other forms of videoconferencing. In addition to enabling social distancing, videoconferencing seems at first glance to have all the advantages of in-person meetings. It eliminates the costs of meeting face to face, including … Read More 

Moving Online: Pedagogy in a Pandemic

Posted by & filed under Pedagogy at PON, Teaching Negotiation.

While teachers and trainers around the world work to transition their courses into remote formats, we asked some of our experienced online teachers to share their experiences with the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC) so as to provide insights to those who might be working to teach online for the first time. Samuel “Mooly” Dinnar is … Read More 

Check Out Video Highlights from the 2019 Negotiation Pedagogy Conference

Posted by & filed under Teaching Negotiation.

On November 15th, 2019, the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC) hosted a conference on excellence and innovation in negotiation pedagogy. Negotiation and dispute resolution teachers and trainers from around the world came to Cambridge to learn about new approaches and share their experiences. Speakers at the conference spotlighted innovative instructional techniques in many diverse fields of … Read More 

Online Negotiation Strategies: Email and Videoconferencing

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

Online negotiation has become ubiquitous, as it allows us to negotiate across the miles cheaply and quickly. Yet online negotiation creates special challenges. With email, instant messaging, and text messages, negotiators typically lack visual, verbal, and other sensory cues to interpret how their counterpart is feeling. And while videoconferencing—via Skype, Google Hangouts, and so on—adds … Read More 

Need Some Negotiating Help? In the future, ask your phone

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

Today, many people use “virtual assistants,” such as the iPhone’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa, to perform simple tasks and provide answers to straightforward questions. So-called chatbots, or bots, grease the wheels of everyday life by giving directions, looking up arcane facts, providing customer service, and much more. The best bots can also carry out lengthy conversations … Read More 

Negotiation research you can use: To curb dishonesty in negotiation, confront “paranoid pessimism”

Posted by & filed under Teaching Negotiation.

Business negotiators often worry about being deceived, and understandably so. The potential for being lied to or swindled can be high in negotiation, given that our counterparts typically have access to information about preferences, alternatives, product quality, and so on, that we lack. Yet research shows that negotiators often behave honestly even when doing so costs them money. Interestingly, … Read More 

In Negotiation, Display Anger with Caution

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

Virtually all of us experience feelings of anger from time to time during our negotiations. Past research findings reassured business negotiators that their displays of anger could benefit them by conveying toughness and motivating their counterparts to make concessions. But a new research study by professors Hajo Adam of Rice University and Jeanne M. Brett … Read More 

The insincere negotiator: The risks of emotional displays

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

Anger can carry an advantage in negotiation, past research has shown. When we display anger, our counterparts tend to view us as powerful and intimidating. Consequently, they make more concessions than they would ordinarily and lower their demands. On the flip side, negotiators who appear happy tend to do worse than others. Happiness and contentedness appear … Read More 

Training for Non-Face-to-Face Negotiations

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

Negotiating by email poses a set of challenges that one doesn’t often encounter in face-to-face negotiations. Without the benefit of seeing your counterpart’s body language, what one person might intend to be a straightforward request the other might perceive to be rude. A legitimate delay responding to an email offer by one party might be construed … Read More 

Former Clearinghouse Customers Speak!

Posted by & filed under Daily, Negotiation Skills, Pedagogy at PON.

In an effort to understand more about how the former PON Clearinghouse does and doesn’t meet its customers’ needs, we interviewed a number of long-time Clearinghouse clients. We asked what teaching materials they found most valuable and for what reasons. We also asked how they found out about the former Clearinghouse and what additional teaching and … Read More