Pod­cast with Jack Nas­her: Con­duct nego­tia­ti­ons online

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In this pod­cast epi­so­de, I spo­ke with Jack Nas­her, pro­fes­sor at Munich Busi­ness School and facul­ty mem­ber at Stan­ford Uni­ver­si­ty, about his recent For­bes artic­le and online nego­tia­ti­on trai­ning, and asked him the ques­ti­on: What’s next after the Coro­na pan­de­mic?


But befo­re we get into that topic, I wan­ted to talk to him a bit about his artic­le “The 10 Tips for Lea­ding Online Nego­tia­ti­ons” published by For­bes and asked him: what are the most important insights you shared with the world in this post?

“Online nego­tia­ti­ons are not neces­s­a­ri­ly worse. We rea­li­zed we could live wit­hout all the live mee­tings,” says Jack Nas­her and con­ti­nues:

Even though live mee­tings are good for socia­li­zing, you don’t have to fly half­way around the world for every hand­shake.

Of cour­se, cer­tain issues ari­se in online nego­tia­ti­ons that indi­vi­du­als may not think of direct­ly. Nas­her offers the fol­lo­wing tips on this:

The pro­blem is: you only see a head and a tor­so. Also known as the ‘tal­king head illu­si­on’. You can easi­ly work against it by moving more, stan­ding up or show­ing some­thing.

In this way, a basis of trust is built up.

Ano­ther typi­cal online pro­blem is eye cont­act. If you look your coun­ter­part in the eye on the screen, it looks to him or her as if you’­re loo­king at his or her cleava­ge. Eye cont­act only occurs when you look direct­ly into the came­ra. This may feel stran­ge at first, but it leads to a bet­ter con­nec­tion with our coun­ter­part.

And what about nego­tia­ti­ons whe­re you don’t even see or hear your coun­ter­part? In a writ­ten exch­an­ge, the dif­fe­ren­ces in sta­tus are nul­li­fied. Hier­ar­chies tend to fall by the way­si­de here. For peo­p­le who have a lower sta­tus than their coun­ter­part — i.e., employees who nego­tia­te with supe­ri­ors — or tho­se who tend to be intro­verts, this is the per­fect medi­um for nego­tia­ti­ons. “The speech ratio chan­ges com­ple­te­ly. Ins­tead of a spea­king ratio of 80:20, it now beco­mes 50:50, but if you have a hig­her sta­tus and/or are par­ti­cu­lar­ly cha­ris­ma­tic live, you should avo­id this medi­um.


In his online cour­se, par­ti­ci­pan­ts see the same con­tent as the live par­ti­ci­pan­ts. The com­ple­te live trai­ning ses­si­ons were film­ed — inclu­ding the lively dis­cus­sions. Once a week, the­re is a Zoom mee­ting with Jack Nas­her to ans­wer ques­ti­ons and prac­ti­ce live. Real cases that par­ti­ci­pan­ts send in before­hand are also dis­cus­sed.

Jack Nas­her first feared that it would be a second-rate trai­ning as oppo­sed to the live trai­ning. But that’s not the case. In fact, it has pro­ven to be a fun­da­men­tal advan­ta­ge that par­ti­ci­pan­ts can con­su­me the con­tent at their own, indi­vi­du­al pace. Espe­ci­al­ly more dif­fi­cult chap­ters can be view­ed seve­ral times. Nevert­hel­ess, ever­y­thing is didac­ti­cal­ly struc­tu­red and each chap­ter ends with a lear­ning check. 

When I asked what the feed­back from the par­ti­ci­pan­ts was so far, I got the fol­lo­wing ans­wer: “The par­ti­ci­pan­ts seem to be satis­fied. We just recei­ved a case of the finest craft beer from one par­ti­ci­pant.”


I asked what the eco­no­mic impact of the Coro­na pan­de­mic would be in the near future and whe­ther the­re might be any posi­ti­ve effects. His ans­wer was phi­lo­so­phi­cal.

The pro­blem with fore­casts is that they always con­cern the future.Prof. Dr. Jack Nas­her

Howe­ver, he does not belie­ve that our lives will chan­ge per­ma­nent­ly. We will quick­ly return to nor­ma­li­ty. Peo­p­le are crea­tures of habit and will the­r­e­fo­re again quick­ly take most things for gran­ted. But if we beco­me more awa­re of just a few things in the future, that’s alre­a­dy worth a lot.

The inter­view was con­duc­ted by Mir­ko Herr­mann of NEXT­IM Inbound mar­ke­ting


FOR­BES artic­le “10 tips for con­duc­ting online nego­tia­ti­ons” (Ger­man)

FOR­BES artic­le “How To Nego­tia­te Via Email

Wiki­pe­dia artic­le on “Eggs-Bene­dict”.

Book tip: Factful­ness. How we learn to see the world as it real­ly is (Hans Ros­ling).

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