“How To Negotiate Better In A Virtual Reality World” – Negotiation Insight

“Negotiating in virtual reality can be akin to wandering in wonderland.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert (click to Tweet)

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“How To Negotiate Better In A Virtual Reality World”

People don’t realize they’re always negotiating.

When you negotiate in a virtual reality (VR) world, your negotiation experience can differ from negotiations you’ve had in the past. And that’s true even if you’ve negotiated many times in virtual reality environments. Because dealing in virtual reality has its benefits and drawbacks. And that’s why you must become a better negotiator. Here’s why that’s true.

Virtual Reality Definition

Virtual reality can be in the form of a simulated experience. It can also be in a computer-animated environment that uses avatars. The common thread between both of those settings is that they’re computer-based.

Virtual Reality And Body Language

In VR environments, you can’t see the other person’s natural face. Instead, you see a representation of who they are. That can be a challenge for some people, especially if they’re not used to negotiating in that type of setting. Plus, the VR ambiance can create a mindset that lacks the reality and seriousness of what the negotiators contend.

The point is, you can’t take into account the other negotiator’s facial expressions and other body language gestures. Thus, a negotiator’s brain has no way of knowing how their counterpart feels about what either negotiator offers. So, it’s easy to make assumptions about an opponent’s emotional state. The best way to deal with this is to become aware of how your brain interprets their body language.

When you’re denied body language insights due to being in a virtual reality setting, seek clues to gain awareness into the other negotiator’s demeanor with whom you’re negotiating. Do that by assigning actions that he might engage if you weren’t in a VR setting. Note the accuracy of your assessment. And like what occurs in virtual machine learning, increase the probability of your assumptions by noting the number of times you’re right. Then, use that information to make better predictions about your opponent’s actions.  

Virtual Intelligence In Virtual Reality

Virtual intelligence is the artificial intelligence that exists in a virtual world. And since computers are programmed to perform specific functions, negotiating in a VR world can be risky. A negotiator’s avatar can be programmed via artificial intelligence to learn from its opponents’ avatar the employing negotiation strategy. Based on that feedback and input, the owner of that avatar will gain an advantage in the negotiation.

Negotiation Consideration In Virtual Reality

In some virtual reality worlds, negotiations have become elevated to an art form. And the higher that form, the more critical it is for a negotiator to be aware of the environment in which they’re negotiating. If not, they start at a disadvantage.

But, virtual reality negotiation has its benefits. In some cases, it might encourage a negotiator that’s shy, one that feels less powerful against a more potent force, to engage more vigorously. And, it’s another medium in which to negotiate when you can’t talk with each other face-to-face. Note, you can still communicate and gain information about what your counterpart is seeking from a negotiation. The more you know about the other person, the better you’ll be able to engage them.

When dealing in virtual reality, much of the focus is on showing what’s on your side, impressing your counterpart, and showing them you’re the person that can offer them the best deal. The technology and tricks within a VR setting can help you deliver your value. Thus, be aware of a VR environment’s components before officially engaging in a negotiation.

Importance Of Negotiating Better In VR

At this point, you might be thinking I’m a good negotiator. Why should I learn how to negotiate in virtual reality environments? As stated, you can have a different experience when you deal in virtual reality than in other mediums. Accordingly, when you negotiate in virtual reality settings, the expectations are different. It can become a game-like environment. And you have to understand that difference and adjust your thought process and expectations accordingly.

You can have artificial time limits in virtual reality settings, unlike those you’d set in non-VR scenarios. And while you can have time limitations placed on non-VR negotiations, the addition of such restrictions can distract a negotiator from their ultimate goal in VR settings. That can occur due to the game-like environment that VR can create.

If a negotiator is mentally distracted from their negotiation goals, their opponent may have increased odds of sending them to virtual negotiation bankruptcy. Thus, the psychological aspect could drive the negotiation either wholly or partially by the avatars used to represent the competing parties and interests. That’s a factor a negotiator must keep top of mind to negotiate better in VR.


There’s a difference in the negotiation process in virtual reality versus a virtual environment – one in which you’re negotiating virtually versus in a VR setting. When you negotiate, you must make that distinction based on the plans you’ll create for the negotiation. That assessment will be critical to the strategies you develop.

Simultaneously, you may find it challenging to capture your counterpart’s true intention in virtual reality. A negotiator’s actions may appear erratic in a VR world due to the role he’s portraying via his avatar. That can make dealing with him even more challenging. That’s another consideration to ponder and why you need to become a better VR negotiator. Once you do, you’ll extoll the virtues of doing so. 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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