Will President-elect Barack Obama keep his BlackBerry once he assumes office? In an interview last week, President-elect Obama stated, “I’m clinging to my BlackBerry. I don’t know that I’ll win.” At issue are potential security concerns versus his ability to stay electronically connected to family, friends and the outside world.
As technology advances and impacts how we communicate with others, consider its impact on your negotiations. When starting a negotiation, for instance, evaluate what you want to accomplish with your first communication. If you want to establish positive rapport with your counterpart (often a good idea), a more personal approach in the form of a face-to-face meeting, video conference or phone call would be preferable to, say, mailing a letter or even an email.
More personal communication methods are also often more effective when your goals include establishing a long-term relationship with your counterpart.
Efficiency, of course, is another consideration. Using your BlackBerry or iPhone can be a quick and easy way to communicate. But more informal communication methods like calling, emailing or twittering also have their downsides (one is we don’t generally give them as much strategic consideration as formal letters).
Finally, recognize that sometimes you want to create a paper trail and get commitments in writing.
Bottom line – choose your negotiation-related communication methods strategically. Don’t just pick up your cell phone or shoot off a quick email.