The Most Important Ways Technology Has Changed the Future of Negotiations

The Most Important Ways Technology Has Changed the Future of Negotiations

The rise of technology has changed the way humans relate to the personal and business landscape. It’s been both a blessing and a curse for all communication and interactions. Today, we’ll talk about the two-sided effect technology is having on negotiations.

The positive side of technological changes

In many ways, technology has changed negotiations for the better. Here are some of the key ways that technology has bolstered negotiations.

Improved coordination

One of the foundations of negotiation training is to improve coordination between everyone involved to find amenable outcomes. Improvements in technology have, for the most part, made coordination and working together with a breeze.

For instance, there are several platforms that allow people to work together on the same document from different locations.

So, when drawing up documents like term sheets for venture capital deals, there’s less back and forth involved. Instead, changes can be made in real-time. Everyone involved can easily get on the same page in no time, making for greater harmony and cohesion.

Plus, technology allows you to track any changes in the details of the document under discussion. That way, there’s less risk of someone changing goalposts or feigning ignorance of their previous statement.

Cutting downtime and expenses

Improvements in technology have reduced the travel time associated with structuring deals. For instance, if you’re using in-person meetings to close a deal, you traditionally would have to meet frequently to settle the finer points.

These endless in-person meetings mean that those involved have to go up and down between locations frequently until the business is concluded. All the time spent traveling means it takes longer to finalize a negotiation.

With technology, meetings can now happen even across continents at the click of a button.

Deals take less time to conclude and cost less. Plus, the use of electronic signatures makes reaching the finish line less complicated.

Easier fact-checking

In some instances, you may encounter people who play to win at all costs. They may string you along by misrepresenting facts or running a little further from the truth. That’s why you need to verify facts before completing a negotiation.

Verifying facts on time can help save your business from falling into the trap of unscrupulous operators. With technology, you can easily train yourself to use search engines to verify information in real-time and at record speed to keep your business buoyant.

Can prevent explosive situations

When you have to respond to the other side in the heat of the moment, emotional control doesn’t always kick in on time. As a result, outbursts of emotions can negatively affect the negotiation process.

On the other hand, when you use tools like email or chat, you have more time to drink the message in and ponder the words, not to mention reread your response before you hit send. This can help keep the lid on boiling emotions.

Negative aspects of technology

On the other side, technology has negatively affected how people interact in negotiations. Here’s why.

Less human connections

Communication training shows that words alone aren’t always sufficient for clear communication. There’s a higher risk of being misunderstood if the other person can’t hear your tone of voice or see your physical gestures or facial expressions.

Technology platforms like emails that don’t offer any vocal or visual input can create potential misunderstandings that hinder deal structuring. For instance, some words may be taken out of context or someone may use passive-aggressive undertones that are difficult to detect.

Even with tools like a video that allows you to see and hear the other person, there’s only so much you can see of the other person. So, on video calls, you’ll need to make more of an effort to send and receive body language cues. This makes it difficult to fully understand each other like you would in face-to-face talks.

Lower attention spans

When you try and close deals via email and chat, there’s a risk that you might not see eye-to-eye due to one of those involved skipping over an important detail.

With the advent of technological developments like the internet and smartphones, getting information is now easier than ever. The availability of copious amounts of easy-to-read content has subconsciously trained people to reduce their attention spans.

A study by Microsoft found that the average attention span has been reduced to about eight seconds.

When people read through documents, they tend to scan rather than pore over every detail. As a result, it’s easy to miss the key information. If both sides of the negotiation aren’t on the same page, it gets harder to find a win-win solution.

Trust issues

A survey conducted by global market research firm Ipsos, in conjunction with the Centre for International Governance Innovation, revealed that over 75% of people have trust concerns on the internet. People usually find it harder to trust online platforms than they do with face-to-face connections.

The lack of trust makes it more difficult to conclude win-win negotiating outcomes. For instance, people may be warier in revealing relevant information to someone online.

In some cases, if everyone involved doesn’t have all the information, it’s harder to shape a mutually beneficial outcome.

To sum up, technology has on the one hand simplified and sped up negotiating outcomes. However, on the other hand, technology has brought with it more complicating factors that can hinder communication efforts because of the more distant human relations. With a little practice, we can adapt to the ever-increasing technological changes. When we learn how and when to utilize technology for negotiating, we can adopt a hybridized approach to negotiation, enjoying the best of both worlds.

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