Online meetings have become commonplace for many of us in the last few years.

No one grumbles anymore that face-to-face negotiations are not as effective because you can get the same maximum benefit from both formats. The key is to understand precisely how remote meetings differ from office meetings (apart from the obvious, of course).

For your meeting to be successful and to ensure that you get the results you want, let's review the basic rules for successful online meetings.

Rule 1: Strongly prepare for a meeting early in advance!

First of all, this refers to technical support for remote negotiations. The platform where the meeting will take place, according to the rules of digital etiquette, is chosen by the initiator of negotiations. The best solution is Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex Meetings, or those programs you are used to and therefore know like the back of your hand. Be sure to consider the call format. Will there be a presentation? How many speakers do you plan on having? The meeting duration, some platforms have time limits, and the number of participants. Additionally, it is worth checking the quality of communication, camera, microphone, and Internet speed in advance.

Rule 2. Plan your negotiations.

Before starting any negotiations, whether online or offline, it is worth defining the final goal. What do you want to achieve? It is when the goal gets achieved, the negotiation can be considered successful. However, even if you do not achieve the desired result, the meeting should be of value to the company. Otherwise, what is the point of having it?

To make the negotiation fruitful, you must prepare a detailed plan for the meeting and an agenda for the discussion of both parties' key negotiation points. Read the agenda to all meeting participants in advance so they have time to prepare and think about the main issues. Doing this will save a lot of time when you come to negotiating.

Keep in mind that online negotiations may be limited in time due to the nature of the videoconferencing venue. Therefore, you should strictly stick to your plan, but it is best to set up timings, i.e., allocate a certain amount of time for each item on the agenda and not go beyond it. If you realize an item takes more than the allotted time, tell the speaker, and ask them to finish the discussion. Moreover, you can safely use the prepared cheat sheets for your speech to avoid losing time because peeking into the speech sheet will not be as noticeable during the online meeting as during the face-to-face meeting.

Rule 3. Involve other employees in the negotiation.

Depending on the topic of the conversation, you may want to include, for example, a marketing specialist, a designer, a programmer, or a developer. Nevertheless, it would help if you remembered that remote meetings with many participants are challenging. Therefore, each person at the conference should be responsible for a specific item on the agenda.

It is imperative to involve employees with experience in negotiations in online meetings. Even an average professional can be helpful with good speech and communication skills. Lectera's "Negotiation Guru" course will help you learn how to neutralize objections, use manipulative traps, and interpret non-verbal communication.

Rule 4. Follow digital etiquette.


During negotiations, everyone knows you must follow office etiquette. However, few people know about the existence of a separate digital etiquette. Above all, it requires adherence to the following principles:

  • Always schedule online meetings. Therefore, you should not call your partner, client, or sponsor unannounced. Instead, the right thing to do is to arrange the meeting time in advance and check a few hours before the appointment to ensure everything is still on the table.

  • Dress appropriately for important negotiations. Moreover, even at home, don't forget the dress code rules. True professionals will never allow themselves to participate in an online negotiation wearing home attire. Replace dressing gowns, stretchy T-shirts, and tracksuits with formal business-style clothing. You'll learn to pick the right look and look stylish and confident in the course "The right image. Your key to success in network marketing." This course will also be invaluable for those who regularly participate in negotiations. You will learn how to deal with customer objections and establish intelligent communication.

  • Always turn on your camera. Even if there is no urgent need for video, it is better to insist that your interlocutors and you come forward with the camera on. It demonstrates your interest in the success of the negotiation and your absolute involvement in the conversation. It's also a basic courtesy. For instance, fiddling about with a microphone that has become disconnected microphone could make your contacts wonder how much of your focus is on your conversation with them. Video calls also allow you to observe your interlocutors and read their emotions, which can help improve the outcome of negotiations. Learn more about emotional intelligence, non-verbal communication techniques, and psychophysiology on "Read People's Emotions." Understanding the origins of emotions and how they affect decision-making will help you learn to control your feelings and manage the emotions of others.

  • Introduce yourself to your colleagues. Regardless of how many people attend, introducing everyone is essential. Then everyone will understand who is involved in the conversation and the aspects of the negotiation for which they carry responsibility.

  • Give everyone involved in the meeting a chance to have their say. Involving all employees in the conversation will make it more valuable and productive for both sides of the negotiation. However, this does not mean you should ask a question into the void and wait for an answer from a willing participant in the conversation. Instead, ask questions to specific people. Otherwise, the negotiation risks turning into chaos.

These fundamental aspects of digital etiquette will enable you to be more effective in negotiations and make a pleasant impression on your interlocutors. The course "Develop and Apply Charisma." You will learn the tools to develop inner confidence and techniques to free you from fears and complexes.

Rule 5. Always debrief and review


After the online meetings, you should write a concise summary to document the main points of the negotiations, ideas, and ways out of the situation. It is well-known that employees' concentration and attention span are lower in online meetings than in face-to-face meetings. So it will not be superfluous to summarise the meeting and give a brief report on every item on the agenda. Moreover, compare the meeting's purpose with the outcome and answer the primary question: "What got achieved because of the meeting?" Next, share this summary with the other participants in the meeting or meeting and thank them for participating.

However, it is equally important to answer the organizational and technical questions regarding the preparation of the online meeting:

  • Were the interests and motivations of the negotiating partner properly identified?

  • Were the preparations for the negotiation appropriate to the actual conditions and situation?

  • What exactly determined the outcome of the negotiation?

  • How to exclude future negative aspects in the negotiation process?

  • What should get done to increase the effectiveness of the negotiation?

Thus, a considerable number of factors influence the success and productivity of online negotiation. Therefore, participants in a meeting should monitor themselves and their mannerisms and pay attention to the reactions of interlocutors and non-verbal means of communication. In addition, before a negotiation, it is advisable to study your future opponents, from their professional qualities to seemingly insignificant details that may also influence the outcome.

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