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The Difference Between Offline and Online Negotiation Tactics

Negotiation tactics play an everyday role in business, which isn`t much of a surprise – but they also play a huge part in our personal lives and how we interact with those around us. These days, a lot of communications and business deals are done over the internet so it`s important to adapt. This article is going to take a look at some highly effective offline negotiation tactics and then compare them to what works in terms of online negotiation tactics, highlighting the similarities and the differences in order to allow you to have many tools in your negotiation arsenal, and to know how to choose the right ones.

Defining Your Environment

This is an age-old technique for negotiations. You`ve got to know where you stand, both literally and figuratively. Historically this means whether you`re sitting in a restaurant, in their office or in yours, to understand where the power balance is and to use it to your advantage. Also in a less literal sense, it means knowing how badly they need to make the deal compared to how badly you need the deal. If closing this deal is absolutely essential for you, but not for the parties you are negotiating with, then you can`t be as aggressive, since they hold the power.

When you`re dealing with online negotiation tactics, it`s also important to define your environment. One thing that separates online negotiations from offline negotiations is the fact that all of your online communications are written in stone, so to speak. Think about what you`re going to say before you say it, and don`t make any commitments in writing that you can`t stick to. This is important in person, too, but even more important online since a transcript will be saved. That`s just one example of how the online environment differs from offline in terms of negotiations.

Taking Clues From Body Language vs The Written Word

When you`re negotiating with somebody in person, you can pick up on subtle clues and hints from their body language. There are entire fields dedicated to this, and being able to “read” somebody is an incredibly valuable skill to have. During online negotiations, however, you may not have audio or video to help you, so you`ll have to rely entirely on the written word. You can often tell a lot about somebody by the way that they write, but keep in mind it`s not foolproof. There`s a fine line between trying to paint a picture of somebody in your mind and wrongfully judging them based on bias, make sure you don`t cross that line.

Knowing The Culture

It`s easy to pick up on the culture of an office or a business in person when you`re right there, you can tell if they`re casual or very professional and use that to your advantage when you negotiate. This exists online, too. For example, different social media sites have very different cultures and ways that people behave. Take some time to observe how people interact on a particular platform before you jump right into the negotiations in order to better equip yourself for online negotiation tactics.

In Conclusion..

A lot of the same techniques that have been used for decades in offline negotiations are still useful for online negotiations; you`ve just got to adapt them somewhat. Neither method is easier or more difficult than the other; they`re just different and require somewhat different skill sets.
A lot of times, common sense plays a huge role in negotiations but when you`re face to face (Or online) with somebody who`s been cutting their negotiation teeth for years or decades, you`ll want to be as prepared as you can possibly be.

The steps highlighted in this article are a great start, but you can never be too well prepared. Assessing the culture, the environment, knowing where you stand and taking cues on the fly based on body language or the tone they`re using are all essential pieces of the negotiations puzzle. Do you want to test out how your own online negotiation skills hold up? Click here to take a quick test!

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