Negotiation Blog

Does your personality or style have an effect on your success as a negotiator?

By Thomas Wood

At a workshop I recently conducted we had an interesting discussion regarding negotiation styles.  Some of the participants said they were shy and wondered if this would affect their success as negotiators. They were surprised to learn my answer.

In my experience, some of the best negotiators are actually calm, laid-back and quiet. This often surprises people because they have an image of successful negotiators as being flamboyant, high-energy and somewhat colorful. That is typically true in the movies, but not necessary in real life.

The beauty of the Best Negotiating Practices (BNPs) we teach is that they fit every negotiation style and personality.  As long as negotiators do their homework, start at their most desirable outcome (MDO), listen for the true interests of their counter-parts, and use the rest of the BNPs, they will usually have a satisfying outcome of mutual gain, no matter how shy or out-going they are.

Having said that, one might consider cultural differences when deciding what the most effective personality style of your lead negotiator should be. In some cultures, my out-going, energetic style will be welcomed, in other cultures it will backfire on me (more on cultures in a future blog). You should also consider the personality style of your counterpart when deciding who should be your lead negotiator.

At the end of the day though, everyone has the potential to become a master negotiator, no matter what personality style you have.

Negotiating Tip

 “Do I not destroy my enemy when I make them my friend?" Abraham Lincoln, 16th U.S. President, 1861-1865


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