While in-person negotiations are often preferable, they aren’t always practical. That’s why virtual negotiation skills are essential.
Negotiators who meet in person reach better deals than those who engage in virtual negotiation, research shows. Face-to-face meetings offer invaluable nonverbal and verbal cues, such as eye contact, body language, and tone of voice, that facilitate understanding and build lasting bonds.
But virtual negotiation allows us to negotiate across the miles cheaply and quickly. Videoconferencing through Zoom, Skype, and other online portals is more convenient and cost-effective than flying to another state or country. And we can still, to some degree, be face to face.
Yet negotiating via video is not the same as being there. In a virtual negotiation, we see less of the other person and their environment than we do when negotiating in person. Individuals typically appear as “talking heads”—that is, only their heads and upper torsos show on the screen.
Moreover, technical difficulties are par for the course. It’s not unusual to have trouble linking up or to suddenly lose audio and/or video during a meeting. Such glitches may interrupt the flow of a negotiation or leave us feeling irritated, which could keep us from negotiating at our best.
One technique that works to overcome these problems is small talk. Just as you would for an in-person negotiation, take time at the start of a virtual negotiation to engage in small talk, which could lead you to identify commonalities and see past superficial differences.
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The following items are tagged virtual negotiation:
If there’s one thing that negotiators have practiced this year, it’s thinking on their feet. As our 10 notable negotiations of 2020 illustrate, the coronavirus pandemic left individuals, businesses, nonprofits, and governments trying to replace outmoded plans with more workable alternatives.
10 Notable Negotiations of 2020
10. Struggling to play ball. This year, sports leagues scrambled to … Read 10 Notable Negotiations of 2020
We said goodbye to breakfast meetings, client lunches, and after-work happy hours. Goodbye to handshakes, fist bumps, and pats on the back. Goodbye to the boots-on-the-ground sales game as we knew it, and hello to Zoom calls and text messaging.
To make matters even more difficult, the economy started to trend downwards—and so did the … Read Make the Most of Online Negotiations
Negotiation thrives on physical presence. Handshakes, eye contact, shared meals, and long meetings in stuffy conference rooms are everyday tools of the trade, and with good reason: Negotiators who meet in person reach better deals than those who negotiate online, research shows. Face-to-face meetings offer invaluable nonverbal and verbal cues, such as eye contact, body … Read Online Negotiation in a Time of Social Distance
The Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School
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