What is Your Negotiation Style?

People have different personalities and communication styles. For example, some people are extroverts and tend to be the leader of a group, while others are introverted and prefer not to be in charge. Just the same, there are different types of negotiators. Each individual has their own unique skills, experiences, and personality traits that affect the way they interact with others. This also translates into how they negotiate. As a result of these differences, five distinct negotiation styles have emerged: 

-Competition (win-lose)

-Collaboration (win-win)

-Compromise (split the difference)

-Accommodation (lose-win)

-Avoidance (lose-lose)

Let’s take a closer look at the characteristics of each style so you can find out which you seem to identify with the most. 


A competition-style follows the “I win, you lose” mentality. Competitive negotiators tend to do whatever it takes to reach their desired outcome-even if it’s at the expense of the other party. They are results-oriented and are highly motivated by their desire to succeed. Typically, these negotiators are willing to use hardball tactics to achieve their goals and they are more concerned with “winning” the negotiation than building a working relationship with the other party. While this style may result in short-term success, it’s a risky move because it can be detrimental to the long-term relationship with the other party. Likewise, it can oftentimes end in a deadlock if you are dealing with another competitive negotiator. 


Unlike the competitive negotiator, the collaborative negotiator seeks a win/win outcome. This style focuses on making sure both parties have their needs met. In this style of negotiation, both the relationship and the outcome are equally important, and they seek to preserve and strengthen the working relationship for future success. While it can be difficult and time-consuming to reach a collaborative agreement, this style can be highly effective if you desire a long-lasting relationship with the other party. 



Many people confuse this style with the collaborative style. However, unlike the “win-win” model in the collaborative style, the compromise style follows an “I win/lose some, you win/lose some” model. Often described as the style that “splits the difference,” a compromising style results in both parties agreeing to about half of the terms of the negotiation. In other words, some of the party’s needs will be met, but not all of them. You agree to give up some things for the sake of the other party. This style can sometimes result in the feeling that you gave up too much and didn’t get enough in return. 


This style is the direct opposite of the competitive style because it follows the “I lose, you win” model. This style might be used in situations where one party is trying to repair their relationship with the other party. It may also be used as a means for increasing the chances that the other party will work with you again in the future. It’s a great style to use when you are trying to strengthen the relationship between you and another party. Its focus is solely on the relationship, as opposed to the results. 


This style follows the “I lose, you lose” model and is used when neither the outcome nor the relationship are important. There are situations where the time and energy simply aren’t worth it and it’s better to simply avoid negotiating altogether. While this style is used infrequently, it can be implemented if a party wants to withdraw from the relationship with the other party.