Why communication is crucial to negotiation

The dictionary defines communication as the act of transmitting or conveying information. Without being able to convey information, you would not be able to negotiate. Negotiation depends on information. Generally, the more information you can glean, the better your position to negotiate.

In an interesting article about possible labor strife from the South Africa Independent Online, the title says it all: “Communicate before negotiations.” South Africa has an ongoing problem between workers and management, which has resulted in strikes and even violence. The article says this:

The protracted wage negotiations in the mining, manufacturing, steel and engineering and public sectors highlight the need for companies to implement constructive communication channels to prevent damaging effects on productivity and profitability levels.

In other words, good communication between the parties could result in productive talks that would make the wage negotiations be faster and with less drama.

In the article, the business consultant Chris Jacobs is interviewed and he says the following:

Establishing open feedback channels allows for management to address issues as they are raised, creating a constructive negotiating climate that will help to avert protracted negotiations and possible strikes. This open climate creates a level of trust that is necessary to conduct proper negotiations.

Clearly, a lack of communication between parties leads to breakdowns and misunderstandings. Without ongoing communication you also risk impasse and deadlock. As the article underlines, open communication aids mutual understanding, and this in turn leads to better long-term agreements between parties.

How do you work to ensure good communications in your negotiations? Please share your views in the comments.

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