Negotiation Styles - What's Yours?

How do you negotiate? Do you know what your predominate style is? I know mine!

Recently I attended a Graduate, REALTOR® Institute (GRI) course on negotiation. Among many other great tidbits, we were presented with R.G. Shell's five basic negotiation styles and it was discussed that we typically have a predominant style, though we might use different styles for different situations and our style might change over time.

My typical style turns out to be Collaborating.

This does not surprise me in the least, as I engage in collaboration every day at my day job in the Information Technology world. Every project, issue, or enhancement involves multiple people, personalities, teams, and agendas as well as multiple ways to get to the desired outcome. We all have to play nicely together and work to get the job done; we have to leave emotion and personal conflicts out of it, and also avoid being either push-overs or steam-rollers as these are people we have to work with on a long-term basis.

Eliciting requirements and thinking of creative ways to meet them is sometimes half the fun of the IT work I do. I suspect this will be the same when working with buyers and sellers in the real estate world. 

Shell's description of the collaboration style:

"Individuals who use the collaborating style enjoy negotiations, especially those that require creative solutions. These individuals are good at using negotiation to understand the other party’s interests and concerns. They can, however, unnecessarily complicate simple transactions."

My thinking:

PRO: We're the problem-solvers. The what-if this option? and the how about that pathway? people of the world. The let's think outside the box if we have to folks because we want everyone to be satisfied with the solution. Note I did not say happy. They might also be happy, which is, of course, a desirable end-product. At the least, though, the parties involved are satisfied with the outcome and fully understand the what and why of their options when they make their decisions. 

CON: I agree with the con in Shell's description. We collaborators can tend to over-complicate things at times because we do want to explore the options and possibilities, just for the fun of it and/or the knowledge gained if nothing else.  We need to keep this in mind so we can recognize it and thus avoid it.

What's your style?

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Shell's Five Basic Negotiation Styles as presented in the GRI course:

An individual’s negotiation style is integral to how he or she relates to the world and views relationships. Depending on the individual and the situation, one or more of the negotiation styles may be used. Moreover, styles may change over time:

Competing: Individuals who use the competing style enjoy the opportunity to win! These individuals have strong instincts for negotiating and are strategic. These tough negotiators may go for the win at the expense of the relationship.

Avoiding: Individuals who use the avoiding style do not like to negotiate and don’t do it unless required. They tend to defer and dodge confrontational aspects but are often perceived as tactful and diplomatic.

Compromising: Individuals who use the compromising style want to close the deal by being fair to everyone. These individuals and their style may be good to use when there is limited time, but they may often unnecessarily rush the process and concede too quickly.

Collaborating: Individuals who use the collaborating style enjoy negotiations, especially those that require creative solutions. These individuals are good at using negotiation to understand the other party’s interests and concerns. They can, however, unnecessarily complicate simple transactions.

Accommodating: Individuals who use the accommodating style enjoy solving problems and preserving personal relationships. They are sensitive to others, including the other party’s emotional state and body language.

Source: Bargaining for Advantage by R.G. Shell