Even without consciously knowing it, we negotiate from one of four predictable styles:
- Driver—wants to win
- Analytical—wants to be right
- Expressive—wants to influence
- Amiable—wants agreement.
How we negotiate is informed by our style. Our learning style strengths help us be more effective as negotiators. Under the stress of a negotiation, however, our style strengths can become liabilities and get in the way.
Effective negotiators are highly aware of their own style. They use their natural talents to their advantage, but discipline themselves to keep their stress down and liabilities in check.
Drivers. John strives to get as much as he can during a negotiation and isn’t afraid to ask for what he wants. John doesn’t let negotiations get bogged down in too much detail or get sidetracked. Drivers like John have an intimidating style that puts off others. In the driver’s mind, their approach is effective because it leads to concessions from the other side. Drivers can lose out in the long run with lackluster performance or even sabotage of the agreement.
Analyticals. Sonja has a talent for logically deciphering complex data and analyzing. When approaching a negotiation, she always is prepared and has done her homework, determining the correct, safe course of action with minimum risks. Analyticals like Sonja need to be careful about being overly focused on data and ignoring the feelings and motivations of people. Analyticals struggle with anything new on the fly. Analyticals’ talent for critical thinking tends to produce “no” responses, and they often are seen as rigid and obstructionist.
Expressives. Laura is highly social, a quick thinker, and full of ideas and creative solutions. She “gets” people, and draws heavily on her intuition in decision making. Expressives overly rely on sociability and their verbal skills of persuasiveness. Expressives get bored easily with data, research, and details, and often come to the table without a real understanding of complex issues.
Amiables. Carlos is a great listener and team player. During negotiations he seeks agreements, collaboration, and cooperation. Amiables can struggle when negotiations get tense. The “no” is hard for them to hear, and in the face of aggressive behavior or conflict, they will often yield on issues too quickly.