Aspects of Communication in Negotiation
1. Communication varies according to the
formality of the negotiation situation. As the rules and procedures
of negotiation, become increasingly detailed and specific, the impact of
communication becomes less significant.
2. Rules govern communication in negotiation
3. Communication functions to:
In informal negotiations, many of the rules
are generated through the negotiation interaction.
In formal negotiations, rules and procedures
Rules may be generated in a pre-negotiation
Within certain negotiation "cultures," rules
may become ritualized.
exchange information, intentionally and unintentionally;
overtly and covertly.
express strategic intentions and tactical
identify patterns of behavior.
alters perceptions and expectations concerning
the bargaining situation, relationship, process, and outcomes.
4. Communication in negotiation focuses
5. Intentional communication behaviors are
tactics reflecting a negotiator's strategic orientiation.
Offers and counteroffers; proposals, demands,
The interpersonal negotiation relationship.
Intangible issues (e.g., face, respect).
Nonverbal communication certainly affects
the resolution of conflicts and disputes, yet little research has considered
nonverbal communication within dispute resolution contexts. Some
speculations follow, gleaned from experiences of practitioners and the
nonverbal behavior literature.
1. Negotiation practitioners place great
importance on nonverbal behavior (probably too much importance).
2. Nonverbal behavior in negotiation
is culture-bound; the cultural identification of negotiators and the cultural
context of negotiation will influence what nonverbal behavior is appropriate
and how nonverbal behavior
should be interpreted. Yet some negotiators may regard certain nonverbal
behaviors as culturally univeral (transcending differences).
3. Some nonverbal behavior "categories"
relevant to negotiation:
4. Contrary to some trainers' writings
and seminar presentations, nonverbal behavior does not communicate in isolation,
and particular behaviors do not have specific meanings.
Chronemics (time): American negotiators
place great importance on time; being prompt, meeting deadlines, and using
time efficiently. This emphasis on time may translate into impatience.
Proxemics (space and distance): American negotiators
prefer maintaining secondary relationship distance when negotiating; they
prefer negotiating in environments that ensure distance (e.g., sitting
on opposite sides of a table).
Kinesics (body): American negotiators prefer
environments that support formal, controlled behavior (e.g., sitting vs.
Facial and eye expression: Face and eye behaviors
are often trusted greatly by negotiators from a variety of cultures.
Physical appearance and dress: Negotiators
may rely on appearance attributes to indicate respect for the negotiation
Paralanguage: Like face/eye expression, negotiators
may trust judgments based on vocal tone, rate, etc.
Environment/architecture: See Negotiation,
Social/cultural rituals, manners, and conventions:
These areas may be particularly critical in the pre-negotiation phase.
5. Nonverbal behavior must be interpreted
in context, including the sequence in which it occurs.
6. Negotiatiors need to avoid over-interpreting
nonverbal behaviors (e.g., always trusting nonberbal cues over verbal cues)
and falling victim to nonverbal ethnocentrism (like cultural ethnocentrism).
7. Nonverbal behaviors are particularly
significant when they are inconsistent with verbal messages. Negotiators
should check their perceptions of inconsistency with the other negotiator
if the inconsistency is significant.
8. Nonverbal attentiveness
may be particularly important in negotiation situations which may involve