More Negotiating Power

This week's column is another in an occasional series on the art and science of negotiating. Whether it's a tech deal, a lawsuit or any other type of business deal, you're going to need to bring the same negotiating skills to the table.

Telephone Talks

Negotiating a deal by telephone is practical and can be effective for simple deals that aren't important to you. As for complex and important matters, my advice on negotiating by telephone is simple and easy: Don't. I'm hard pressed to imagine anything less effective than lots of amorphous voices on a speakerphone trying to negotiate a complex deal. It's slow. It's ponderous. Moreover, it's ineffective.

The upsides of the telephone are probably limited to two. One is that it's easier to arrange a telephone call than a meeting. The second is that you save money by negotiating by telephone rather than in person. While the first one is undoubtedly true, the second one may be an illusion. While you may save on the front end by reducing your travel expenses, you may cost yourself money in the long run.

The problem with the telephone starts with losing all your visual cues. You can't see the other person's body language or eyes. If you're good