“7 Reasons To Be Careful Negotiating On Social Media” – Negotiation Tip of the Week

“Just because reasoning lost its battle, doesn’t mean you have to lose yours.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert  (Click to Tweet)

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“7 Reasons To Be Careful Negotiating On Social Media”

People don’t realize; they’re always negotiating.

Some people consider negotiations to be a formal process. In reality, you’re always negotiating, even when you’re on social media. Most people don’t recognize that fact. And social media can have a profound impact on negotiations and your life. That’s why you should be careful about the content you place on social media and its effects on your future negotiation sessions.

Negotiating on social media can stretch across any platform, and it can encompass different media (e.g., tweets, videos). Observe the following seven reasons why you should be careful negotiating on social media, especially if a video component is absent. And consider how your negotiation efforts become challenged as the result of dealing on social media.

1. In social media, you’re never sure with whom you’re negotiating.

During face-to-face negotiations, it can become challenging to know all the entities with whom you’re negotiating. Some individuals might be a shill or an unknowing cutout. In social media, your task as a negotiator becomes amplified when identifying the opposition. It’s essential to establish who your negotiation counterparts are, due to the compositions that personalities possess during a negotiation. And if you fail to make that discernment, it will become more challenging to negotiate effectively.

2. It can be challenging to discern when the negotiation turns.

When negotiating on social media, it’s easy to miss nuances that can cause the negotiation to shift from one path to another. Thus, you might be negotiating under one premise while you’re negotiation counterpart is under another. Worse, he may later feign misunderstanding about an agreement, and use that as a wedge to separate you from gains you thought you’d achieved (e.g., I didn’t know that’s what you meant. I would never have agreed to that.). To negotiate effectively, you must always pay attention to any climate change that occurs. If you miss it, you could be walking away from victory.

3. You have less control over the bargaining that occurs.

Timing – In a face-to-face negotiation, you can accelerate or slow down a negotiation and observe the result of your actions. When negotiating on social media, if a slow down occurs, you might wonder if it was due to the other negotiator missing your last communication, other entities examining it, or whatever the cause may be. The point is, your negotiation toolbox has one less tool that you would otherwise have if you weren’t in a social media environment.

Responses – When it comes to responding, as positions shift throughout the negotiation, it might become more difficult to assess how one response ties to another. At the same time, you may wonder if miscommunications are occurring due to communications crossing one another. Again, that might cause a hiccup in the negotiation versus being in a less challenging environment.

4. You have fewer signals to assess, making it more difficult to understand the mindset of those with whom you’re negotiating.

There are no body language signals to read. Astute bargainers know that negotiators cast invaluable information through their body language and nonverbal cues when expressing their thoughts. Thus, when that insight is not available, a valuable piece of information is lost. And that serves as another detriment to negotiating on social media. 

5. It’s easier to be deceived when negotiating on social media.

I mentioned cutouts a moment ago. In a negotiation, cutouts can appear and become used as a trusted go-between in the talks. In actuality, the go-between may be aligned with one side and against the other. And that’s not the only deception that might occur. A negotiator may say he missed communications that did not favor his position, claim to have lost other records, and state that he sent something when he didn’t. Then, when asked to send it again, he creates another excuse and says, let’s renegotiate the issue. Always be mindful of the ploys that a negotiator may employ to deceive you during a negotiation, especially when it’s on social media.   

6. It’s harder to detect ploys.

When attempting to detect negotiation ploys, it can become more challenging on social media because you’re without tools that might alert you. A negotiator emits signals when he sighs (exasperation), frowns (disappointment), or rubs his hands together (anticipation). You can’t see that on social media unless you’re doing so via video. And even then, you may miss gestures. If you strongly sense that something may be amiss, address it immediately. Ploys can become deployable, which in turn can turn a negotiation into hell’s delight.    

7. Social media shapes the perspective people have of you, which positions you for future negotiations.

Some people are very careless about what they place on social media, not recognizing that a post they make today may become their undoing tomorrow. And it’s the thoughtless casting of information that a negotiator may dredge up to use against you at the most inopportune time. With such information, he can shape public opinion against you and your negotiation position. And don’t be naive in thinking it couldn’t happen to you. Negotiation graveyards are strown with victims who had such thoughts, right up until they met their negotiation demise.

Just remember, what you place on social media can live forever. And, other people with larger social media platforms may have more sway over how you’re perceived. If you keep those thoughts in mind when posting information on social media, hopefully, the pause for consideration will occur, and you’ll become more mindful of what you post.


Negotiating without the ability to hear someone’s tone, see their body gestures, and not knowing who else you’re dealing with can be daunting. Couple those factors with conducting your negotiation sessions on social media, and you might have a recipe for stormy times. That’s why you must be careful in negotiating on social media. Nevertheless, if social media is where you must deal, take special heed of the information I’ve mentioned. Those insights can be the difference between a successful negotiation outcome and one in which you imagined its success. And everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating!

Listen to Greg’s podcast at https://c-suitenetwork.com/radio/shows/greg-williams-the-master-negotiator-and-body-language-expert-podcast/

After reading this article, what are you thinking? I’d like to know. Reach me at Greg@TheMasterNegotiator.com

To receive Greg’s free “Negotiation Tip of the Week” and the “Negotiation Insight,” click here https://themasternegotiator.com/greg-williams/

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