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9 Ways Your Negotiation Personality Can Undermine Your Success
How each negotiator archetype can help and hinder a win.
By Eldonna Lewis-Fernandez
Here are three questions you may have never asked yourself prior to entering into a negotiation, but should: What kind of negotiator am I? What kind of negotiator would I like to be? And, more importantly, what kind of negotiator do I need to be in this situation to emerge victorious?
One key to being a master negotiator is intuitively employing different approaches and taking an alternate direction based on each given situation. But, in order to do this effectively, one must first understand the varying, and quite distinctive, negotiator personality archetypesone or the other of which most people typically utilise while they wheel and deal. Without this strategic aptitude and application of the right persona for the deal at hand, at best itll be harder than it needs to be and at worst all could be lost.
An archetype is defined as a pattern of behaviour or thought or, according to Oxford Dictionary, a very typical example of a person or thing. So ones negotiation archetype is someones way of being throughout the processthose particular characteristics and behaviours that one would use to describe the person and their deal-making methodology. This can be regarded as a role being played, whether contrived or realistic, but the emphasis being on how the person is operating within that role.
Learning how to effortlessly and seamlessly apply certain archetypes to specific situations is a powerful skill. This kind of adaptability and fluidity among different dealsand even as one given deal ebbs, flows, unfolds and changes coursecan gain you substantial leverage and advantages, including the ultimate win. Even better when its a win-win for all parties involved.
What are the typical negotiation personalities? While the following nine personality archetypes are not all-inclusive, they do represent the primary means by which the majority of people negotiate. Achieving the right balance and striking just the right cord with these archetypes based on each negotiation situation at hand is sure to pay dividends.
1. The Politician This archetype is someone who influences or outmanoeuvres others. They often seek support by appealing to popular passions and prejudices through carefully crafted language. A negotiation politician typically campaigns to influence or persuade others to support their point-of-view. Often this approach is only advantageous for ones own advantagealso known as a win-lose proposition.
- Helpful because: The politician archetype is personality-driven more than anything else. Using your charisma to get everyone on the same page for a positive cause or outcome is a great way to build success for a particular cause. This can be helpful in any situation where the greater good is the goal. It is also a great leadership strategy to guide a group towards a particular positive outcome.
- Hindrance because: Relying only on our charisma and ability to galvanise others rather than facts, figures and other pieces of information that can make a deal swing your way in more logical and quantifiable terms can render you vulnerable when its time to get down to the nitty gritty for the close. Trust may be compromised if you dont have the data to back up your position.
- Helpful because: you will get to the point and not waste time in the weeds with details that could delay, and possibly derail, the deal.
- Hindrance because: you might put the other side off and offend if they are not receptive to this hard-hitting style. You also may miss out on a critical piece of information that might otherwise have been revealed had you spent more time in discussion with the other party.
- Helpful because: Its a way to test the waters without putting what you want out there in a more committed way. By not making direct requests, you may glean more informationand resultsthan you would have otherwise by leaving your hints open to interpretation.
- Hindrance because: You may not get any positive traction on what you want to occur or you may appear to be overtly manipulative, which could hinder the deal. This ambiguity can also make coming to terms a much longer and more frustrating and arduous process.
- Helpful because: You will disclose all details so the other side can fully understand what it is you desire or are presentingand justifications related thereto. This approach leaves little room for the other side to doubt, can foster a sense of trust and may result in conversation that opens negotiations further to great benefit.
- Hindrance because: Many in todays time-pressed society dont have time, patience or inclination to hear the story and dont want to know ancillary details. The receiving party may tune you out and not hear a word you are sayingand perhaps get impatient and frustratedbecause there is too much information being provided. This may make people averse to working with you again.
- Helpful because: Exerting your power and dominance up front may prevent the other side from attempting to employ a strategy that takes advantage of you. If they see your strength up front they may change their position before ever asserting it.
- Hindrance because: The other side may regard you as out of control, not in your right mind, and generally unpleasant to deal with. Its more than likely theyll not want to do business with you again, and that your reputation will precede you with others.
- Helpful because: The only reason this might be helpful is if the other side interprets this as a shutdown strategy and they either take pity on you or dont want to take advantage of you. They may offer a better deal because of it, but clearly this is not an expected or common outcome.
- Hindrance because: Aside from being perceived as weak from an image standpoint, you will also most likely get a bad deal or taken advantage of. Most discussions start out with each side offering something to negotiate up or down from and go from there. If you take the first offer thats presented when the other party started high fully expecting to negotiate down, as most do, you may end up in a deal that doesnt make sense financially or otherwise.
- Helpful because: Someone may indeed feel sorry for your situation and give you a break. We all have things happen in our lives and careers and, if you use this as an honest way to get a better deal, both sides can often feel good about the outcome.
- Hindrance because: Oftentimes people use this as a manipulation tactic in an attempt to get out of a situation. The other side may see this for what it is and call you out on it, which can be embarrassing and undermine your credibility. Not only will you not get a better deal, the other party may actually negotiate harder than they would have otherwise in response to what they feel is an attempted manipulation.
- Helpful because: Deflection by rant is indeed a negotiation strategy. If you go on a rant or are clearly upset about an injustice or something that is justifiably not fair and reasonable, the other side may be more apt to reevaluate your position and give you a better deal.
- Hindrance because: You cant negotiate with crazy. You may lose the deal all together if the other side thinks you are unstable or unreasonable to do business with. Being logical and having the ability to effectively give and receive information is an important aspect of deal-making and this personality type doesnt haveor utilisethis capacity.
- Helpful because: You are using a balance of all applicable archetypes when it is required. Understanding how you and how other people negotiate, and where they are coming from, allows you to present your side utilising a calculated approach that can throttle as needed.
- Hindrance because: You may spend more time analysing how a person is negotiating than paying attention to the details of the negotiation, itself. Over analysis is paralysis as the saying goes and you dont want to get stuck scrutinising on a macro level instead of negotiating the all-important micro matters.
Veteran negotiation and contracts expert Eldonna Lewis-Fernandez, author of Think Like a Negotiator, has over 30 years of experience crafting killer deals both stateside and internationally, many in excess of $100 million. Shes currently the CEO of Dynamic Vision Internationala specialised consulting and training firm that helps individuals hone negotiation skillsas well as a nationally regarded keynote speaker, session leader and panelist on the Art of Negotiation.
Eldonna may be reached online at www.ThinkLikeANegotiator.com.
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