Line of Inquiry: George Wu on negotiating over Zoom

Jul 30, 2020

Sections Strategy

Many experienced negotiators have honed their skills for a specific negotiation context: in-person meetings, where reading the room and observing body language can be important elements to building trust and achieving success. But the pandemic has made in-person negotiating difficult or impossible for many people, and even after the health threat subsides, the business community's new collective fluency with Zoom may make remote negotiation more common than it was before.

Chicago Booth’s George Wu says that it’s true that some aspects of negotiation are easier in person than online—but for other aspects, the reverse is true. To make the most of the new negotiating environment, Wu says professionals should think critically about what’s easier about negotiating on Zoom, what challenges Zoom-based negotiators can anticipate and prepare for, and what new possibilities the mechanics of the platform offer.