Mike Hourigan, Online Negotiation Skills Speaker
As an online negotiation skills speaker, I often speak to consultants, contractors and co-workers on negotiating skills techniques. In the old-school world, more often than not an entire team would travel to a major client and negotiate a contract. It was pretty impressive (and usually an impressive waste of time and money).
In today’s world, there is a new set of online negotiating skills problems. It may be a single contractor or a couple of co-workers trying to negotiate with a major organization thousands of miles away. If the negotiation seems unequal and almost unfair from the start, it is not your imagination. Frankly, most contractors and consultants leave much of the deal on the virtual table.
Online Negotiation Skills
The history of a negotiation skills speaker does not only called for face-to-face meetings where points could be hammered out, but there were hundreds of visual clues, voice inflections and physical gestures that signaled agreement or disagreement, progress or set-backs.
Online negotiation lacks many of those cues. To be sure, there is video-conferencing, but the video conference itself lacks the impact of face-to-face negotiation. Then too, are the materials often leading up to the video conference.
As an online negotiation skills speaker who speaks to many contractors, I am wary when the contractor is inundated with “seemingly innocent” communications tools such as email or texts, especially those sent with attachments.
Understand that most online communications are “flat.” It is difficult to assess emotion or intention from an email. The emoji was not just a silly graphic, it was an attempt to give dimension to an otherwise flat conversation. The problem again is that even the emoji can be seen as irrelevant, un-business-like or unprofessional. And usually, it is.
Regarding attachments to materials, think of them as asides to strengthen an argument for one team or another. It is possible, and I have seen this, where one team inundates another with dozens of emails each with attachments. In such online negotiations, one of the first questions asked is often: “Did you get our emails [or texts] with the 26 attachments?” It immediately puts the other team at a disadvantage as being inadequate in their diligence or as disregarding the seriousness of the situation. It is a trick, a trap. If it takes 26 (or whatever) number of attachments to get a point across, the point is suspect. Far better for there to be one coalesced point based on several references.
Online negotiation skills training should be intended to accomplish exactly what a traditional negotiation accomplished. That is (and this is critical) that both sides leave the table feeling as though the deal was fair.
Don’t let our online age fool you. We live in a time where we buy cars with “no-haggle pricing,” or contract with an online client who wants a set price, but that does not mean that negotiation is impossible. It only means we might imagine it is impossible.
Co-workers or contractors often feel alone in online negotiations. They often believe they live in an unfair world of take it or leave it, and usually their instinct is correct.
Learning effective online negotiation skills training is the antidote to the take it or leave itproposition. Don’t get me wrong; between two agreeable parties, online negotiation can be quite satisfactory. But it takes skill. It is not the negotiation itself; it is the tool-set we bring to the negotiation. This can move the negotiation from old school to present-day.
Mike Hourigan, Online Negotiation Skills & Techniques Speaker is available for customized podcasts or real-time video conferencing. His unique approach is respected across many fields. For more information call today at: (704) 875-3030 or by filling out the form below.