Have you ever negotiated wearing a mask over your eyes? I have.
Last week, my French partner and I had to place a video conf to a leader of an organization in order to introduce iDeal Makers and convince him to participate in a negotiation process aimed at making a deal where parties were clearly antagonized. We were acting on behalf of one of our clients. Surprisingly, even if this person did join the video conf he did not turn on his camera. Even though we let him know that we were not able to see him whereas he was able to see us, he did not catch the ball. As a result, my partner and I were blind, negotiating in the dark.
Luckily, and despite very bad relationships between our client and this counterpart, we managed to convince the latter to get back to the negotiating table. After the non-visio, we felt like it had been more difficult than ever. Even harder than doing so through a telephone call because when you are on the phone you know that both parties can only rely on voice as a media. Here, we were both seen and blind at the same time, and we were able to experience how frustrating and difficult it can be. We really had to fully concentrate and be focused on what we could hear rather than what we could see.
Nothing extraordinary so far but since then I came to the conclusion that maybe through this experience we improve our listening and I can’t prevent myself from asking the following: what if I were a blind deal maker? For better or worse, in this weird period where no one can meet in person and where we have to negotiate via phone calls and videoconferences, we sometimes feel like blind people, and in doing so, we have to become better listeners.