After MBS Prof. Dr. Jack Nasher recently examined the differences between face-to-face and online negotiations, in his current article in the business magazine Forbes he takes a closer look at e-mail negotiations. Based on the advantages and disadvantages of email negotiations, the negotiation expert explores the question of whether this type of negotiation is effective and possibly even more effective than face-to-face negotiations.
Nasher sees the biggest challenges and problems of email negotiations in the visual anonymity and remote distance, which lead to negotiating parties behaving less loyal but more self-referential. According to MBS Professor Nasher, people feel less socially committed in email communication, so that politeness rituals are often disregarded and emails generally tend to be more aggressive than actual conversations. In addition, misunderstandings often occur in email communication because “we are less adept at conveying our emotions via email than we think we are,” says Nasher. Moreover, an email is far less binding than a direct conversation and can be ignored more easily by busy negotiating partners.
Despite this multitude of problems in email communication, Jack Nasher can also gain something positive from negotiations via email. In addition to the obvious time and money savings, research and practice show that email negotiations reveal advantages especially for women and people in lower positions. Since status cues, such as such as dress, mannerisms, age, and gender are missing or at least minimized in email negotiations, people communicate more openly and react less hesitatingly. According to Nasher, email negotiations can thus promote a balance of status and power and lead to negotiations sometimes being conducted more successfully and equitably.
As so often, the context and the situation in question determine which communication channel is the most appropriate for a negotiation. Depending on the situation and equipped with a few tips, such as introducing a preliminary talk and the use of humour, negotiation expert Jack Nasher sees email negotiation as a useful part of the strategic negotiation toolbox.
The full article and all tips for successful e-mail negotiations can be read here.