How to Negotiate Online: The Most Important Advice

One thing the global shutdown of 2020 taught us is that in-person meetings are currently seldom an option. On the flip side, the shutdown has also shown us that negotiating online can be a convenient and cost-effective way of doing businesses. When meeting online is your best option, taking the time to outline your strategy can lead to achieving the best results.

So, how can we most effectively engage in online environments? Read on for some of the most important negotiation course advice for how to negotiate online.

Boost Your Tech Awareness

As companies seek new ways to improve their effectiveness and cut costs, expect more businesses to conduct sales talks and job interviews online. While the internet has made communication easier, thanks to videoconferencing apps and chatting platforms, there are also ample opportunities for unexpected surprises.

For example, did you see the video on Twitter of the boss who turned herself into a potato and couldn’t turn herself back? Thankfully, it was all fun and games with no negative repercussions, and the story became one of the many unexpected memes of 2020. However, it’s easy to see how short-term distractions like filters and backgrounds can disrupt a meeting when you don’t know how they work.

It’s always advisable to test your hardware and software ahead of the meeting. If you’re using wireless devices like Bluetooth headsets, make sure you charge them before you start. Test that your microphone is working and that the webcam is well positioned. Download any apps you may need and create a profile with a professional username.

If it’s unfamiliar software, find some tutorials for quick training on basic use and setup. A popular way to prepare for negotiating online is to take part in experiences designed specifically for online meetings, for example a negotiation online course or virtual role-play. A role-playing platform provides a pressure-free environment to practice using your gadgets. You also get to learn and practice different scenarios of online talks while becoming more familiar with the software.

Be Aware of Your Personal Presentation and Video Backgrounds

Dress professionally for meetings, even if you’re sitting down. You never know when you might have to stand up. Plus, dressing the part can be a confidence booster while also keeping you in the right mental state.

Clear your desk or workspace and ensure your background is free of clutter. Apart from being a distraction, a cluttered background may suggest a lack of focus and poor organizational skills.

Before the discussion, turn off anything you might have running that could disrupt the meeting, like alarms. If you’re interviewing for a job, have a printed resume handy for quick reference. If it’s a sales meeting, have a copy of any draft agreements. Keep a pen and notebook nearby to jot down quick points.

Be Willing to Walk Away

It’s usually difficult enough to walk away from an offer in face-to-face meetings. Walking away from an online negotiation can feel awkward, and the result can sometimes be a clumsy attempt to get out of the meeting.

However, chasing after an unfavorable deal is the quickest way to losses, burnout, and general dissatisfaction. So, as negotiation courses often advise, it can be better to be ruthless and walk away as soon as you realize the deal is unsuitable for you. For instance, say the discussion is running past schedule and going nowhere. You could announce that you have another video call scheduled and need to end the meeting.

If discussions turn into heated arguments, there may be the temptation to just switch off your device and forget about the deal. Instead, teach yourself to communicate clearly to the other side that you’re unhappy with their current terms and want to end the meeting.

You could say, “After today’s video call, I will need to go with one of the other offers.” This type of response not only communicates your desire for a better deal but also encourages competitive bidding. The best negotiation courses advise that professional communication leaves the door open for future opportunities while protecting your reputation.

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