The days of face-to-face negotiations are being replaced by negotiations conducted over email and Skype, particularly in the business world. I call this “e-negotiation.” When you can’t see your adversary’s emotions, and can’t pick up on the speed of their speech or their tone of voice, it’s crucial to approach negotiations with absolute strategic and systematic precision or risk being eaten alive.

That’s because your adversary’s emotional state is an essential tool that helps you determine such things as the type of questions you ask, how long to pursue a particular idea, and when to bring up an uncomfortable topic–the so-called elephant in the room.

When people are e-negotiating they feel more anonymous. This feeling of anonymity leads them to use far more dirty negotiation strategies and outright deception to get what they want. To win in this dangerous environment you must be very cautious and understand that your adversary does not have your best interests in mind.

To prepare yourself for e-negotiations, employ the following strategies to put the negotiation under your control:

Know And Define Your Purpose In The Negotiation.

Your purpose must be very clear to you from every angle and direction so you understand and can clearly state how the benefits of what you are proposing solves your adversary’s problems and makes life/business better for them. A well-defined mission and purpose statement is like a compass that will help guide every single decision you make in the negotiation.

Identify Any Problems To Be Solved As You See Them.

Not many people are able to see the real problem or wish to see the real problem, especially if they are the problem or the one creating the problem. By identifying the problem, you will be able to create a vision for the other party concerning the problem and provide solutions that deliver benefit to them.

Have Prepared Words And Language About Their Vision.

Write words that create a vision, or a complete picture, that’s rooted in their world and depicts specifically how they will benefit from the solutions to the problems you have identified. For example, your ability to structure an interrogative question can be a powerful visual tool. What will happen if this is allowed to continue? What will be the damage? Who will suffer the most? Or descriptive words like unprecedented profit, insurmountable loss, and loss that can never be recovered are just a few examples of language that builds vision.

Know Your Aim In This Negotiation.

Know exactly what you want to get from the negotiation, and state it clearly–while giving your adversary permission to reject or accept. This is so important to you, because decision drives the negotiation. Rejection is the safest decision for the other party and it will move the negotiation forward. By encouraging or embracing rejection, you are influencing the other party in such a way that will at best deliver to you exactly what you want, and at worst will continue the negotiation.

Transcend The “Cold” Communication Mode With “Warm” Words.

When negotiating with people by email or Skype, you can transcend the emotional distance electronic media causes by using words that demonstrate respect, consideration, and humanness. For example, “I have appreciated your good work and efforts for a long time.” “Your efforts in the past are something you can be very proud of.” “You have demonstrated your ability to lead, and I have great respect for that.”

For more expert advice on how to win at negotiation, visit negotiator-pro.com.

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