Almost every email sent is a form of negotiation. The sender is trying to get their point across to the recipient in hopes of obtaining something. Whether that be business related, in the form of permission, compliance, a lower price and eventual transaction; or personal in the form of convincing friends to go to venue or asking for a date, because your desire is communicated in your subject line the email becomes a negotiation. Some are very easy, and agreement is immediate while others can drag on for months.
In this series of blogs Email Whisperer will seek to bring out the aspects of negotiation we all use and are often unaware. The golden rule as it applies to emails: once you hit send, and the receipt opens it, the impact is felt even if you redact the statement. In this series of blogs, we will introduce some of the basic aspects of email negotiation and hopefully you will hit send confidently know your message was communicated well. “Say it once, Say it right.”
One aspect is the recipient themselves. Who are you sending this communication to? CEO? Employee? Wife/ Husband? Child? In each case it pays to think about the recipient and your last discussion with them before engaging in new material. This way your mindset is correct while crafting your subject matter. This seems obvious, but emotions that should apply to a family member often spill into the business environment and vise versa.
A second aspect is the salutation. This is often overlooked but truly sets the tone. In most emails we start by saying: “Hi Jack” which is informal. Introductory emails for business purposes should start with “Good afternoon Mr. Johnson” or “Greetings Mr. Johnson.” Some feel the use of last names is too formal, but to a recipient, starting a relationship on a first name basis, at the introduction, assumes there’s a relationship where one doesn’t exist. In many cultures it is insulting. The entire negotiation can be sabotaged at this point before you even had the chance to state your case.
A third aspect is the closing. Finishing you email depends entirely on the subject matter you have communicated. If the object is to close a sale you always want to leave the door open for further communication, even if your sale tactic is to pull the deal off the table.
If your subject matter was a complaint and communication of no further business, then your closing should not allow for questions or comments on the matter. Be careful not to communicate anger in this type of email, frustration is acceptable but not anger which can take on a life of its own.
Certainty there are many other aspects to an email that effect the negotiation process. In this series we will examine this topic and its many aspects such as: short versus long term negotiations, adding sincerity or frustration without compromising your position, bringing your point across through examples and many others.
I certainly invite opinions and comments on this matter.