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Tip Tuesday: 10 Tips for Conducting Successful Remote Negotiations

May 26, 2020

Given that it may still be months before groups of 10 or more may be meeting in person, many clients have asked us if it is productive to conduct negotiations remotely. The answer generally is yes, it can be very productive. Below are a few tips to keep in mind when conducting negotiations remotely:

  • Each side should disclose to the other party who is present on the call, who will be participating on the next call, and if any SMEs will be required for the next session, so they can be notified in advance. 
  • Make sure that both labor and management understand how to use the latest technology—Zoom, Skype, WebEx, Team Meetings or other teleconference systems. Do a test run prior to the session to ensure audio/video and connections work.
  • Decide whether you want to share screens so that each side can review and follow along when proposals are presented and/or edited.
  • Remember that just because you aren’t sitting across the table from each other, it is imperative to remain professional at all times. 
  • Keep your phone on mute to avoid noisy distractions when you are not speaking.
  • Decide on which member from your team will ask questions so that you avoid talking over each other, which is a common habit when participating in teleconference meetings.
  • Make sure that you have one number to call into when both sides are meeting and separate numbers to call when caucusing.
  • Create an agenda and share it with all the participants in advance of the negotiations.
  • Rather than engaging in open bargaining, ask questions and listen to the other party, and then caucus or reconvene later and present counter proposals.
  • At the end of each bargaining session, decide on whether you are going to have another remote bargaining session or if the parties feel they can engage face to face with sufficient social distancing.