Negotiations: Communication (Chapter 7)

Published by admin on

Communication in Negotiation
Communication processes, both verbal and nonverbal, are critical to achieving negotiation goals and to resolving conflicts.
– Negotiation is a process of interaction
– Negotiation is a context for communication subtleties that influence processes and outcomes
Basic Models of Communication
Communication is an activity that occurs between two people: a sender and a receiver
– A sender has a meaning in mind and encodes this meaning into a message that is transmitted to a receiver
– A receiver provides information about how the message was received and by becoming a sender and responding to, building on, or rebutting the original message (processes referred to as “feedback”)
Distortion in Communication
1. Senders and receivers (individual communicators)
– The more diverse their goals or the more antagonistic they are in their relationship, the greater the likelihood that distortions and errors in communication will occur
2. Messages
– The symbolic forms by which information is communicated
– The more we use symbolic communication, the more likely the symbols may not accurately communicate the meaning we intend
3. Encoding
– The process by which messages are put into symbolic form
– Senders are likely to encode messages in a form which receivers may not prefer
4. Channels and media
– The conduits by which messages are carried from one party to another
– Messages are subject to distortion from channel noise or various forms of interference
5. Reception
The process of comprehension by receiving messages and decoding them into an understandable form
It might not be possible to capture fully the other’s meaning, tone or words
6. Interpretation
Process of ascertaining the meaning and significance of decoded messages for the situation to go forward
An important way to avoid problems is by giving the other party feedback
7. Feedback
The process by which the receiver reacts to the sender’s message
Can be used strategically to induce concessions, changes in strategy, or alter assessments of process and outcomes
Absence of feedback can contribute to significant distortions by influencing the offers negotiators make
What is Communicated during Negotiation?
Offers, counteroffers, and motives
Information about alternatives
Information about outcomes
Social accounts
– Explanations of mitigating circumstances
– Explanations of exonerating circumstances
– Reframing explanations
Communication about process
Communication in Negotiation: Three Key Questions
Are negotiators consistent or adaptive?
– Many negotiators prefer sticking with the familiar rather than venturing into improvisation

Does it matter what is said early in the process?
– What negotiators do in the first half of the process has a significant impact on their ability to generate integrative solutions with high joint gains

– Is more information always better?
The effect of exchanging information depends on the type of issues being discussed and the motivation to use the information

How People Communicate in Negotiation
Use of language
– Logical level (proposals, offers)
– Pragmatic level (semantics, syntax, style)

Use of nonverbal communication
– Making eye contact
– Adjusting body position
– Nonverbally encouraging or discouraging what the other says

How People Communicate in Negotiation (cont)
Selection of a communication channel
– Communication is experienced differently when it occurs through different channels
– People negotiate through a variety of communication media – by phone, in writing and increasingly through electronic channels or virtual negotiations
– Social bandwith distinguishes one communication channel from another.
—-the ability of a channel to carry and convey subtle social cues from sender to receiver
How to Improve Communication in Negotiation
1. manageable questions
2. unmanageable questions
1. manageable questions
cause attention or prepare the other person’s thinking for further questions:
– “May I ask you a question?”

getting information
– “How much will this cost?”

generating thoughts
– “Do you have any suggestions for improving this?”

2. unmanageable questions
cause difficulty
“Where did you get that dumb idea?”

give information
“Didn’t you know we couldn’t afford this?”

bring the discussion to a false conclusion
“Don’t you think we have talked about this enough?”

How to Improve Communication in Negotiation
Listening: three major forms
1. Passive listening:
2. Acknowledgment
3. Active listening
1. Passive listening:
Receiving the message while providing no feedback to the sender
2. Acknowledgment
Receivers nod their heads, maintain eye contact, or interject responses
3. Active listening
Receivers restate or paraphrase the sender’s message in their own language
How to Improve Communication in Negotiation
Role reversal
– Negotiators understand the other party’s positions by actively arguing these positions until the other party is convinced that he or she is understood
– Impact and success of the role-reversal technique
1. Effective in producing cognitive changes and attitude changes
2. When the positions are compatible, likely to produce acceptable results; when the positions are incompatible, may inhibit positive change
3. Not necessarily effective overall as a means of inducing agreement between parties
Special Communication Considerations at the Close of Negotiations
Avoiding fatal mistakes
– Keeping track of what you expect to happen
– Systematically guarding yourself against self-serving expectations
– Reviewing the lessons from feedback for similar decisions in the future

Achieving closure
– Avoid surrendering important information needlessly
– Refrain from making “dumb remarks”

Categories: Negotiation