The COVID-19 pandemic changed everything about the world as we know it, even our approach to negotiating. Although the world is opening up, most organizations will continue to work remotely on a semi-frequent basis. While McKinsey reports that only ten to fifteen percent of negotiations occurred virtually before the COVID-19 pandemic, some anticipate that a minimum of twenty-five percent of negotiations will be remote moving forward. Lets find out about the intersection of the digital revolution and remote negotiations here.
The pandemic has ushered an entirely different manner of how we perform our work. And while we have adapted and refined our work ethic under remote circumstances, how do those changes impact the way we negotiate? As you continue to keep the future of remote work in mind, here’s how you can strengthen your negotiation skills to finish 2021 strong.
Why remote negotiators should opt for shorter, more frequent meetings
I recommend that all of my clients use online tools to their advantage when scheduling negotiations while working remotely. Consider collaborating on a schedule with your negotiation counterparty to prepare for your remote negotiations ahead of time. The schedule should allocate time for both buyers and sellers to discuss how their work has changed due to the pandemic and how they anticipate their work to change as the world returns to normal.
To combat Zoom fatigue, you and your negotiating counter-party may want to schedule a series of shorter, more frequent meetings instead of a lengthy mega-meeting. Scheduling a single hour on someone’s calendar is far less complicated than scheduling several back-to-back hours. Plus, the lack of travel to a single location to negotiate allows you to schedule several shorter sessions in a short timeframe, which prevents the “spinning the wheels” sensation many panels complain of during long super-days of meetings.
Another perk of remote negotiation lies in who, and how many, can have a seat at the table. Take advantage of the lack of travel by inviting multiple stakeholders to your negotiations. Have you ever wished to invite a stakeholder to speak at a meeting, but they have a completely different schedule from you? Even if that stakeholder works from a different time zone, remote negotiations can empower you to seek out voices that you may not necessarily have sought out before the remote work shift. Plus, negotiating over shorter, more frequent meetings instead of a marathon day of negotiations increases the likelihood that any stakeholder you wish to hear from can attend.
Minor tweaks to your negotiations that make significant differences
Not every adjustment that you and your team make to your negotiation strategy needs to be groundbreaking. Minor changes to how you approach a remote negotiation can significantly impact how you and your counterpart work with each other. Here are some small tips that go a long way, especially in preparing you to reach a common ground that satisfies all stakeholders.
For starters, be sure to test-drive your remote video technology before your first meeting. Video conference software (Google Meet, Cisco Webex, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Skype for Business, etc.) has done wonders for organizations since the pandemic began, but they are not flawless. However, having a dry run to test out your preferred software will help you during the negotiation. Logging on early to figure out how to turn your microphone on and off, share your screen, use the chat feature, and everything in between helps prevent any mishaps from happening when your attention requires you to focus elsewhere.
The pandemic has taken a toll on us all in more ways than one. No two experiences during COVID-19 are exactly alike, which makes empathy at work more critical than ever. For that reason, I recommend that you begin your negotiations with a personal check-in to assess how your counterparty is doing. Assessing how they feel before you dive into the nitty-gritty of negotiations can help you meet them where they are at while also reinforcing that your negotiations are a safe, respectful space.