Negotiation is an essential skill in almost every aspect of life, be it personal or business. However, with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, negotiating has taken on a new dimension - the virtual realm.
Virtual negotiations, where parties are not physically present, have become increasingly common in today's world. While technology has made virtual negotiations possible, it also presents its unique challenges - requiring us to adapt our negotiation skills to the digital world. In this era of negotiating virtually, it is crucial to understand the potential pitfalls and opportunities to succeed in the virtual world. Let’s take a closer look.
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Virtual negotiation is the process of conducting a negotiation via electronic channels. Think zoom, email and WhatsApp.
This way of negotiating has become increasingly popular in recent years, as businesses and individuals seek to cut costs, increase efficiency, and reduce the need for travel. Following the pandemic, many businesses switched to remote working and virtual meetings - and so negotiating virtually is definitely on the rise.
Virtual negotiation has emerged as a game-changer in the field of business negotiations, offering a host of benefits that were previously unavailable. One of the most significant advantages is the ability to negotiate across distances at a reduced cost. Videoconferencing technologies like Zoom and Skype enable negotiators to connect instantly with people from anywhere in the world, without the need for costly travel or accommodation expenses.
Virtual negotiation does come with its downsides. One of the most significant challenges of virtual negotiation is the loss of nonverbal communication, such as body language, tone, and facial expressions. This can make it difficult to read the other party's intentions, emotions, and reactions accurately.
So it takes a certain amount of skill to be successful in virtual negotiation.
As we’ve seen, negotiating virtually requires a different set of skills and strategies than negotiating in person. With limited visual cues and potential technical difficulties, virtual negotiation can be challenging, but there are ways to overcome these obstacles.
Here are out top tips to get the most out of your virtual negotiations.
Preparing for virtual negotiations is crucial. In fact, preparation plays a more important role in virtual negotiation than it does in face-to-face negotiations.
Before your negotiation, be clear about your goals and objective - what do you need to achieve through the process? And what are the areas that you are willing to compromise on? Do your research on the opposite party too - you’ll be better able to anticipate their concerns and find a common ground if you know a bit more about them.
It’s also worth considering your plan B - and be prepared to walk away from the process if you aren’t going to achieve what you need.
Technology has revolutionized the way we negotiate, making it possible to connect with people all over the world at any time. However, with so many options available, it can be overwhelming to decide which platform or tool to use for your virtual negotiation. Will you choose Zoom? Email? WhatsApp? Skype?
The key is to choose the platform and tools that are most suited to your needs and those of the other party. You need to consider factors such as the level of security, ease of use, and the features available to ensure that your negotiation runs smoothly. With the right technology in place, you can not only overcome the challenges of virtual negotiations but also leverage the benefits to achieve successful outcomes.
Thinking outside of the box can help you come up with unique solutions and create value in a virtual negotiation. One way to be creative is to think about the interests and needs of the other party beyond their stated positions. By asking open-ended questions and actively listening, you may uncover underlying issues or concerns that can be addressed with alternative solutions.
Another way to be creative is to propose multiple options or packages that can satisfy both parties' needs. By presenting different scenarios, you may discover new opportunities for mutual gain or trade-offs that were not immediately apparent. Finally, you can also use storytelling or metaphors to illustrate your points and make them more memorable and compelling. By engaging the other party's imagination and emotions, you can build rapport and influence their decision-making.