Finding the Right Negotiation Style
Were you successful? Did you get the outcome you wanted? And do you think you used the correct approach in your negotiations?
There are many different techniques we can use in a negotiation. But we could be far more successful if we knew what approach to use, based on the skills and abilities that we already have.
In this article, we'll explore the Persuasion Tools Model. This model looks at your intuition and influencing ability, and matches this up with the approach that's likely to work best for you in negotiations. We'll also identify ways to further develop your overall negotiation skills.
The Persuasion Tools ModelThe Persuasion Tools Model (see Figure 1 below) is based on work by the psychologist Kenneth Berrien. In his studies of applied psychology in the 1940s, he linked negotiation and persuasion style to emotional intelligence (EI).
The model can help you find the best negotiation approach to use, based on your level of intuition and your influencing capabilities. You can use the model to develop your influencing and persuasion skills, and become a better negotiator.
The quadrants highlight negotiation approaches that may work best for you, based on your levels of intuition and your influencing skills. These approaches are emotion, logic, bargaining, and compromise.
For example, if you have a low level of intuition but you're good at influencing others, the best approach would be to use logic in a negotiation. However, if you have low intuition and are poor at influencing others, the best approach would be to use compromise.
Next, we'll look at each quadrant, and identify examples of how you might use each particular negotiation style.
EmotionUsing emotion effectively in negotiation involves understanding the emotions and feelings of the people you are negotiating with to project your influence. So you need high levels of intuition, and good influencing skills.
For example, you and a strong competitor are pitching your services to the same client. You cannot offer a better service or lower price than your competitor. However, your organization invests some of its profits in charitable projects.
So, part of your negotiations include a presentation on how some of income from this deal with be used to help your chosen charity. You use a storytelling approach, including real life examples of how your organization has benefited charities in the past, and highlight the projects that the income from this particular deal will help towards.
Obviously, using emotion in negotiation can be risky, and you need to have a good understanding of the people you are negotiating with for it to be successful. For instance, the example above wouldn't be effective for an organization that only cared about making the biggest profits. Therefore, emotion is typically used by highly skilled negotiators who have high emotional intelligence and empathy with other people.
LogicWith logic, you use facts and data to make your case. You can use logic confidently if you have low intuition, but high influencing capability.
For example, you need to convince your company's executive board that it would be worth acquiring a small distribution company, instead of outsourcing that function to an external organization.
You've done a lot of research, and you rely heavily on the presentation of facts and data to make your case. You show the board exactly how long it will take to pay off the investment, and you use a computer-based model to demonstrate that faster distribution will help increase profits over the long term.
BargainingBargaining is one of the easiest and most popular methods of negotiation. To bargain effectively, you don't need to have strong influencing skills. However, you do need higher levels of intuition because it can be costly to use bargaining at the wrong time, such as too soon in a negotiation.
For example, you're in negotiations with a large software firm, trying to get a lower price for a large number of software licenses for your company. Your manager has told you not to leave the negotiations until you get at least a 20 percent discount off the retail price. Once you sense that the sales representative really needs your business, you begin bargaining by asking for 30 percent off. You then go back and forth with the sales representative, bargaining for a lower price, until you both agree on a 22 percent discount.
CompromiseCompromise is considered the least powerful of all the negotiating styles, and it may be all that's available to less-skilled negotiators.
For example, you've been at your current job for six months. Since you started, you've worked nights and weekends to catch up on the workload. You believe that you deserve a raise for the extra work, so you've just sat down to renegotiate your salary and compensation package with your boss.
You feel that getting a 10% raise from her might be tough, and you're prepared to settle for a lower increase if she'll increase your other benefits. In the end, you accept a lower payrise than you wanted, in return for more vacation time.
Limitations of the Persuasion Tools ModelThe Persuasion Tools Model can be useful for discovering your most effective natural negotiation approach.
However, there are some limitations to the model. For example, it can be hard to measure your levels of intuition and influencing skills effectively. So it can be difficult to know what particular negotiation approaches best apply to you.
There will also be times when you'll need to use a mixture of emotion, logic, bargaining, and comprise in your negotiations. So to be an effective persuader and negotiator, you can't rely on perfecting just one of these skills.
Make sure that you supplement this model with other approaches and techniques, and interpret your conclusions with common sense.
Improving Your Negotiation SkillsIt's useful for all of us, regardless of the industry we work in, to have good negotiation skills.
You can improve your levels of intuition and influencing skills by working on a wide variety of other skill areas. For example, emotional intelligence, communication skills, powers of persuasion, and information gathering.
You can also practice applying these techniques by taking our Bite-Sized Training session on Negotiation.