Many people consider social media a waste of time in the workplace, which is one reason why most employers block employees’ access to social media accounts during work hours. In general, visiting social media sites during work hours is a bad practice, but social media does have certain benefits that businesses can take advantage of. For example, social media provides a great environment to practice and develop negotiation skills. The following are a few of the benefits of social media for negotiation and how to keep the distractions of social media out of the office.
1. Build your image before negotiations: Social media allows people to build up an image and reputation, in essence creating a persona. This means that negotiators will be expecting to negotiate with the persona and may give you the advantage of appearing stronger or tougher than you really are. By influencing what your competitor knows and thinks about you using social media, you can also influence the outcome of the negotiations.
2. Learn about your competitor: When you research the person you will be negotiating against, look at their social media profiles to get an idea of their character. However, as they may very well be practicing the same methods as you, focus less on what they say and more on their style of writing. For example, concise statuses or comments that express strong opinions and are posted regularly indicate a person who makes quick decisions and wastes little time, striving to be as efficient as possible. By paying attention to how they write and the language they use, you can get a better insight into how their mind works.
3. Practice and learn about emotional control: One of the most prevalent problems with the internet is the number of hate-filled comments posted on every social media site. Some internet users post angry comments and statuses due to personal issues, while others respond irrationally to ideas or statements they disagree with. One way to potentially practice negotiation skills is to join some of these more explosive conversations and control your anger when responding to hate-filled comments. You will also learn what types of comments most affect other’s ability to control their emotions.
4. Practice self-management: Social media often draws users in and keeps them distracted for hours, preventing them from getting work done. When you do go on social media, have a goal of things you want to look at and a time limit for how long you can spend, and stick to those restrictions. By using social media as a tool to learn to control your impulses and manage your time, you can become a more effective employee and a more effective negotiator.