Have you ever noticed that some people are better negotiators than others? That more often than not, those folks get more of what they are seeking than others? Well, it probably has to do with their style of negotiation. In a blog posted on August 25, 2020,on the Harvard PONS website,  Katie Shonk  discussed “Understanding Different Negotiation Styles.” Referencing an article written by Carnegie Mellon University professor Laurie Weingart appearing in Negotiation Briefings, the blog post notes the four basic negotiation styles:

  1. Individualistsseek to maximize their own outcomes with little regard for their counterparts’ outcomes. About half of U.S. negotiators have an individualistic Bas
  2. Cooperators, about 25% to 35% of U.S. negotiators, strive to maximize both their own and other parties’ outcomes and to see that resources are divided fairly.
  3. Competitives, comprising about 5% to 10% of U.S. negotiators, seek to get a better deal than their “opponent.” They behave in a self-serving manner and often lack the trust needed to solve problems jointly.
  4. Altruists, who are quite rare, put their counterpart’s needs and wants above their own. (Id.)

According to this post, individualists and cooperators are the most common styles of negotiation. Research indicates that “…individuals are more likely than cooperators to make threats, to argue their positions, and to make single-issue offers.  Cooperators, by contrast, are more likely to engage in value-creating strategies such as offering information, asking questions, and making multi-issue offers.” (Id.)

Further, research indicates that in a negotiation involving several issues, the “cooperator” style is the most effective since these negotiators seek “…to expand the pie of value for both sides.” (Id.) And when people using different negotiation styles find themselves in negotiation with each other, research indicates that their respective styles converge such that each negotiator tends to mimic the other without realizing it. (Id.)

The post also discusses the difference between introverts and extroverts in negotiations. Citing Susan Cain’s book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking (Crown 2012), the post notes that introverts have several good qualities useful in negotiations: to listen closely without interrupting, and to prepare thoroughly for the negotiation. (Id. at 2.)

If you wish to become a better negotiator, the blog suggests rather than attempting a complete makeover of your style, you should focus on strengthening the good attributes that you have and then also practice”… the best elements of other styles” that will  help make you a more successful negotiator. (Id. at 2.)

As a mediator, I have seen quite a lot of negotiation styles; some more successful than others. For that reason, this post caught my eye, and I only hope that it catches the eye of everyone as we can all learn how to be better negotiators. For indeed, we negotiate every day even about the smallest of matters such as who is washing the dishes, taking out the garbage or walking the dog.

…Just something to think about!



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