In our age of ever-expanding communication, researchers have been drawn to answer the question of which communication mode most likely lends itself to successful problem solving negotiation. Although the answer is undetermined, face-to-face communication in solving problems has been proven to have a greater possibility of alleviating miscommunication. When you’re in person, you are more apt to pick up all the nuances of the exchange. That way, you will be better able to gauge what the other party is thinking and to determine the direction in which the negotiating is headed.
For the same reasons, it is also easier to create and maintain rapport. If there is already a fair amount of tension in the air, however, negotiating by phone can take the edge off, can provide breathing room and can minimize the effectiveness of any pressure tactics that may have been employed. E-mail’s main advantage is that both parties have control over saying exactly what they want to say and how they want to say it. Since there is no ebb and flow to live conversation, the involved parties can keep the floor as long as they want. On the flip side, e-mailing can tend to make the negotiating parties less restrained and more impulsive in their problem solving communication. This rashness isn’t always a bad thing, but it definitely can be if tensions exist. One study found that abrupt and unmannerly exchanges occurred 102 times when negotiating via e-mail as opposed to only 12 times when problem solving negotiating face-to-face.
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Understanding Personality Directions
A personality direction is the way in which we lean most of the time in terms of the way we act and react to most stimuli. We hate to be boxed in and categorized, but the reality is, most of the time we are predictable. Sure, people aren’t going to be 100 percent predictable all the time, but the more discerning you become, the more you will see how predictable individuals really are.
When you analyze problem solving personality directions, ask yourself the following questions:
I. Is your audience mostly logical or emotional?
A. Logical people:
1. Think with their heads
2. Go with what makes sense
3. Are persuaded by facts, figures and statistics
4. Rely on past history
5. Use their five senses
B. Emotional people:
1. Think with their hearts
2. Go with what feels right
3. Are persuaded by emotions
4. Rely on intuition
5. Use their ‘sixth sense’
II. Is your audience introverted or extroverted?
A. Extroverted people:
1. Love to communicate
2. Are talkative
3. Involve others
4. Tend to be public people
5. Want face-to-face contact
B. Introverted people:
1. Keep their feelings inside
2. Listen more than they talk
3. Like to work solo
4. Tend to be private
5. Use memos and e-mails over face-to-face communication
III. Is your audience more solution-oriented, or problem-avoidance??
A. problem-avoidance people:
1. Try to get away from the problem
2. Are stuck in the past, are afraid of repeating mistakes
3. Avoid pain
4. Want to focus on something else
B. solution-oriented people:
1. Find steps toward a solution
2. See a better future
3. Are motivated by pleasure
4. Want to move forward, have vision
IV. Are your audience members or prospects assertive or amiable?
A. Assertive people:
1. Consider results more important than relationships
2. Make decisions quickly
3. Want to be in control
4. Are task-oriented
5. Don’t waste time
6. Are independent
B. Amiable people:
1. Consider relationships more important than results
2. Are friendly and loyal
3. Like to build relationships
4. Are great listeners
5. Avoid contention
6. Are non-assertive and agreeable
The more you understand problem solving personality directions, the better you will be able to customize your negotiation tactics. Each individual’s personality direction will dictate how you customize your message.
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