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Business Negotiation in a Virtual Environment

  Jul 3, 2020

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) operations cut across almost all sectors of the economy and sustain the majority of households. Their activities form a breeding ground for businesses to thrive and provide innovation, and employment in most parts of Africa. They represent more than 80% of businesses in Kenya and employ up to 75% of the active working population.

On Wednesday, SBS hosted an online entrepreneurship learning session dubbed ‘Business Negotiation in a Virtual Environment’. This session was facilitated by Yael Chayu, a global expert negotiator and focused on business conflict resolution and building strategic entrepreneurship.

“Great negotiators are those who look at the negotiation table from the other side. How you communicate with the other side during negotiations plays a big part in winning a negotiation,” Yael Chayu.

Yael further highlighted seven winning tools for effective negotiation.

Use a variety of communication tools for each negotiation. Be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of the channel you use. Yael explained the communication scale from the lowest to the highest. E-mails – chat – text – phone – video – face to face.

The best way to collect information about the other side is to go higher on the scale, be aware of the different communication channels, and be flexible.

Interpersonal contact. Do not forget to give attention to the other side as people feel like you care about them. Ask how they are doing. Make sure that you show concern, it brings better results and not only commercially.

Manage intangible interest. People will go into businesses when they feel good about it. The key things to note here are;

  • Express appreciation. When people feel good they are willing to give you better concessions.
  • Build an affiliation. Manage a conversation that hints affiliation but do not stalk the other side, people like to feel like they have something in common.
  • Acknowledge status and role. Appreciate people’s journey by mentioning their titles, people tend to fall in love with their titles. When you use the word ‘we’ it brings a sense of affiliation in a negotiation, it shows teamwork.
  • Respect autonomy. People like to feel they have the autonomy to decide and not feel pushed. It is the freedom to make decisions in a negotiation.

Assertiveness. Be critical in how you present yourself virtually, how you sit in front of the camera, your voice, pay attention to how your head is located, and keep your head straight.

Focus. When on a virtual platform it is important to focus. Do not google or read emails as people may feel your lack of focus and you may lose some information.

Comments. Feel comfortable to write comments, they will be important afterwards, it looks professional and you might forget things discussed in the meeting.

Slow down. It is not easy to communicate virtually, sometimes people tend to focus on your looks. Be audible as this may prove challenging in the virtual space.

The Strathmore Entrepreneurship Development Centre endeavours to promote enterprise growth nationally, regionally and internationally by offering superior quality and affordable professional training and guidance to emerging and established entrepreneurs, by undertaking appropriate research in collaboration with industry. Training at the center is based on high ethical principles that aim at producing entrepreneurs with high professional standards and integrity.

Learn more about the Strathmore Entrepreneurship Development Center here 



Article by Maureen Bundi


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