Email Negotiations Dos and Don’ts

For a long time, email has always been a leading means of communication for individuals in the world of business. When you email a proposal, you make obvious what is to give and take between the involved parties just as if you are meeting physically. You agree on things which then bring about the confirmation of all the important details of what you have agreed to or completed.

However, it should be noted that doing negotiations through email is not a perfect process as an email can be easily misinterpreted, especially when it comes to intent and tone. Indeed, this explains why negotiation training, such as the one offered by Shapiro Negotiations that covers all forms of bargaining, whether physical or virtual.

With this in mind, we will highlight the things to and the things not to do when it comes to email negotiations.

email negotiations


  • Focus on the details and strategic signals

Many people in the business world are fond of drafting and sending negotiation emails without putting into contemplation the strategic signals they are sending. For all it is worth, paying attention to all the necessary details and assessing the strategic signals being sent are very paramount. You do this by considering the language of your email draft and check if you’re communicating the way you intend to. Pause and check before sending it because your message should be as strategic as needed.

  • Be clear and concise

Complex proposals and data dumping through email can bring about confusion or ambiguity on the part of the recipient. This is because it’s very easy to misunderstand the content of an email message. Therefore, try to use a language that is not only clear but also concise.

Besides, try to include bullet points and executive summaries to make the message easily readable. When this is done, the recipient will have some confidence, which makes it easy for them to focus on the salient points while neglecting the less important ones.

  • Be wise with the timing

Apply wisdom to the timing of your negotiation emails. You don’t want to appear desperate to your counterpart so that they won’t take advantage of you. Therefore, before replying to any email during negotiation with another party, let it take some time so that they can understand you are not driven by desperation.

  • Consider whether to choose to send only an email or attach documents

Sometimes, the email doesn’t convey complex ideas properly. Thus, you might want to consider the option of putting it into Word and attaching it as a document instead of drafting an unnecessarily long email.

  • Apply benchmarks

Lastly, try to support your positions with benchmarks and standards such as precedent, market value among others. It is never enough to just email your message to your counterpart without any backing authority.


  • Send when angry

Anger is a destroyer. It can mar something built for ages in just a few seconds. Therefore, endeavor that your emails are not sent in the heat of the moment, lest you use a language you will come later to regret.

  • Lie or be dishonest

Another thing you must avoid at all costs is dishonesty. Research has shown that individuals tend to lie more in emails than in physical negotiations and break down negotiations faster than dishonesty as it destroys the mutual trust already established between the involved parties.

  • Sound manipulative

Finally, you have to watch the tone of your messages carefully before sending them. This is because you need to avoid coming across as manipulative, which is usually caused by relying solely on persuasion. This is especially so when such persuasion comes from a powerful position.

Now, you know the dos and don’ts for getting the most out of your email negotiations.