Know Your Negotiation Personality

February 22, 2017 02:32 AM

These nine approaches can help or hinder a deal

You work with people every day, sometimes on a casual basis but often in business negotiations. You’ve likely developed your own negotiation style, but it might differ depending on the person with whom you’re dealing and their personality. 

There are nine ways most people navigate the path to a deal, says Eldonna Lewis-Fernandez, an expert in negotiation and contracts.

“Achieving the right balance and striking the right chord with these archetypes based on each negotiation situation at hand is sure to pay dividends,” Lewis-Fernandez says.

1. The Politician: This approach involves influencing or outmaneuvering others. Practitioners appeal to popular passions and prejudices through carefully crafted language. “A negotiation politician typically campaigns to influence or persuade others to support their point of view,” Lewis-Fernandez says. Yet relying on charisma and your ability to galvanize others rather than on facts can render you vulnerable. Trust might be compromised if you don’t have supporting data.

2. The Direct Communicator: This approach involves getting to the point. Practitioners discuss the facts concisely to quickly achieve resolution. Conversely, they could “miss out on a critical piece of information that might otherwise have been revealed had you spent more time in discussion,” Lewis-Fernandez says.  

3. The Hinter: This is the opposite of direct communication. The hinter does not ask directly for anything because he or she is afraid of rejection. This approach is sometimes used to manipulate the other party to act in a certain way without directly being asked. If this describes you, consider more direct requests to glean better results. 
4. The Storyteller: “This is the person who, if you ask what time it is, they’ll tell you how to build the watch,” Lewis-Fernandez says. Although it allows the other side to fully understand what you desire, it can be a hindrance when your audience doesn’t have the time or inclination to listen.
5. The Bully: This approach relies on aggressive behavior, whether through body posture, threats or harassment, Lewis-Fernandez says. The object is to intimidate the other party so they’ll give in.

6. The Non-Negotiator: Practitioners of this approach fear negotiation, which they see as confrontation. They will agree to whatever the other party wants even if it means losing out. 
7. The Victim: People who use this tactic parlay their hard luck to gain sympathy so the other party will be more agreeable to their terms.
8. The Nutburger:
This describes someone with whom you can’t negotiate because their behavior is irrational or overly emotional. 
9. My Fair Lady/An Officer and a Gentleman: Strive for this approach when negotiating, Lewis-Fernandez advises. “Characteristics include negotiating with integrity, ethics and considering what is and is not fair and reasonable for both sides to create a win-win outcome.” 

Pick A Style. Generally, cooperative-style negotiators are better than hard bargainers at reaching solutions that improve everyone’s outcomes, writes Laurie Weingart, a professor at Pittsburgh-based Carnegie Mellon University. They also tend to be more satisfied with the process and their results. 

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