Insight article

Why We Should Stop Negotiating Over Text 

We didn’t even notice how everything in our lives that used to require a face-to-face conversation or at least a phone call, now gets handled electronically. What a convenience and time saver! In a business world, where many matters are time sensitive, being able to email or text certain information could be a true lifesaver… but could it be damaging as well? In some cases, it can. I am a recruiter, and I want to talk about best practices for negotiation. 

Negotiating in itself is an art form, and its success relies on multiple factors such as personality, soft skills, interpretation, and valuation on behalf of all parties involved. Experience does make one more skilled over time, but throwing an electronic element into the picture can lead to unexpected results, even as an experienced negotiator. 

One of the most powerful negotiating techniques is to obtain maximum information about the circumstances surrounding the deal. It is crucial to learn about who you’ll be dealing with and to prepare psychologically. Unfortunately, if you choose to handle negotiating via text or email, this could put you at huge disadvantage and render all preparation futile.

Your opponent could ignore or miss some or all of your questions, or delay their response. Allowing the opponent unlimited time to respond could greatly affect the credibility of their answer. If you asked that same question in a phone conversation or in-person meeting, you would likely receive a more direct and honest answer, as the opponent wouldn’t have had the time to think it through. 

Your email or text propositions could be perceived as obnoxious or even offensive since the opponent cannot hear the tone of your voice or see your body language. The same goes for you. By not hearing or seeing their reaction, you could easily misinterpret their intentions and take your arguments down the wrong path. 

Specifically, with SMS communication, you cannot even be sure that your communication comes through in the right sequence, or at all, and therefore may confuse the opponent and cause complete miscommunication or missed messages.

There are certain negotiation subjects that should definitely warrant an in-person meeting. As a recruiter, I always cringe when people attempt to ask for a raise or a promotion via text or email. Aside from everything I listed above, it often simply sets the wrong tone and makes it easy to dismiss their request because it’s presented so casually. I would always suggest setting up an in-person meeting, video chat, or even a regular phone call to negotiate a pay increase or a promotion. Please refer to “Engineering Your Next Pay Raise” to learn more tips and tricks for negotiating your salary.

We are living in a world fueled by technological advances that have helped to streamline processes and make communication more efficient and instant; however, when it comes to the world of recruiting and negotiating, the good ole’ phone calls and face-to-face meetings of the past are still extremely relevant and beneficial. Human interaction and in-person communication can directly impact the success of a negotiation conversation, or ultimately lead to its failure, so think twice the next time you choose to send that text or email.

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