May 18, 2015 Articles

What Should You Consider if You Plan to Negotiate By Email?

By Joan Sterns Johnsen

As technology evolves, people evolve with it. We lawyers, who once would never communicate by email, now regularly conduct our most important communications that way—and often from a mobile device while away from the office tending to other matters. While we once handled important negotiations in person or on the telephone, we now routinely conduct these important exchanges via email. We might not even be working from our office and our computer. Instead we might read and respond to an important counter-offer on our phone or tablet while standing in line waiting for a sandwich.

We may not give much thought to the fact that our negotiation is now via email, but we should. Email communication is different in important ways from telephone and face-to-face conversations. The nature of the email exchange carries advantages over more traditional forms of communicating, but it also has its disadvantages. If we are mindful of these differences, we can make more strategic choices when using email.

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