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Use of discourse particles for effective communication in negotiations

Language, whether spoken or written, plays a special role in negotiations. Only through communication with the other party does a negotiation take place. The outcome of the negotiation can be influenced by how one communicates. It has been scientifically proven that numerically anchor and submit the first offer is an advantage in the negotiation, and that this is also possible semantically. However, the role of individual words in the anchoring process has never been studied. A group of words from linguistics that can be used for this purpose are discourse particles. These particles are relevant to the interaction between two people and give a different meaning to what is said. The particles that are particularly interesting for a negotiation are “only” and “also”. So, there is a difference between saying “I have €100” and saying “I only have €100”. The “only” in this context has a negative and narrowing effect. On the other hand, the “also” often has a positive effect, since this word is often used to bring in something extra.

Research in this area is still in its infancy. Together with the Linguistics Institute of the University of Potsdam, the NAP is now researching discourse particles in negotiations for the first time. With a multi-level research design, a status quo analysis is performed before further experiments follow. The aim of this research is, as is already possible with numerical anchors, to systematize semantic anchors and framing in negotiations and to derive guiding principles for practice in order to support one’s own negotiation arguments in a verbal way.