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Practical Negotiating: Tools, Tactics & Techniques by Tom Gosselin

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The Difference between Negotiation Styles and Skills

Earlier, we stated that negotiation is a survival skill. In that case, how can we identify our negotiating style and build the key skills necessary to respond to conflict when it arises? In a general sense, we all have a natural interpersonal style that affects how we interact with people in a wide variety of situations. You may have been introduced to models of interpersonal and interactive skills in workshops or reading. Here, I plan to build a model for understanding the dynamics of people in conflict where negotiation is the appropriate response.

Negotiation style refers to the general approach or behavioral style you use in negotiating—confrontational, conciliatory, collaborative, and accommodating. In Appendix A, you can complete the Negotiation Style Survey that will give you a sense of your negotiating style. By taking the survey, you can also identify key skills to help you adjust your negotiating style, meet your objectives, and sustain relationships.

Key skills are the ability to be assertive and persuasive (i.e., not aggressive and confrontational) and use questioning and listening. These skills will enhance your effectiveness in negotiating—whether you are setting ground rules, presenting your opening position, or exploring underlying needs—and are essential to success. In many ways, these skills are the fundamental communication techniques (similar to reading and writing, or passing and shooting) for executing all ...

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