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  • Writer's pictureEmanuel Perdis

Does Your Negotiating Style "Fit You"?

Negotiation is an art form woven into the fabric of our personal and professional lives. Whether you're sealing a business deal, discussing a raise, or trying to convince your kids to finish their vegetables, negotiation skills come in handy. But here's the twist—your negotiating style should be an extension of who you really are. 

In this article, we'll explore the importance of aligning your negotiating style with your personality and values. After all, the best negotiations stem from authenticity and in turn the most effective negotiators are always trusted and respected for their credibility and integrity.

Understanding Negotiating Styles

Negotiating styles come in various flavours and the following four are the Lego™-style building blocks of most styles:

Collaborative: This style emphasizes cooperation and win-win outcomes. Collaborators seek to understand the other party's perspective and find mutually beneficial solutions.

Competitive: The competitive negotiator aims to secure the best possible deal for themselves. They are assertive and often view negotiations as a zero-sum game.

Accommodating: Accommodators prioritize harmony and relationships. They may concede their own interests to satisfy the other party's needs.

Avoiding: Avoiders shy away from confrontation and may postpone or sidestep negotiations altogether.

Your negotiating style is largely influenced by your personal traits, values, and preferences. It's an extension of your natural tendencies in communication and problem-solving. Recognizing, embracing and leveraging these traits can significantly impact your negotiation success.

The Importance of a Congruent Negotiating Style

In negotiation, authenticity is your secret weapon. When your negotiating style aligns with who you are, it shines through in your words and actions. People are more likely to trust and engage with those who are genuine and true to themselves.

When your negotiating style also feels like a second skin, you are more likely to exude confidence. You can assert your needs and interests more effectively, leading to better outcomes.

When your negotiating style is congruent with your values, you naturally build trust with the other party. 

Trust is the cornerstone of successful negotiations. Colleagues and counterparts alike will sense your sincerity and are more likely to favourably respond. 

As negotiations are often complex problem-solving exercises, you’ll be able to better communicate your needs and collaborate to find creative solutions when your style faithfully aligns with your personality.

Dangers of Adopting a ‘Poorly-fitting’ Negotiating Style

When you adopt a negotiating style that doesn't resonate with your true self, you come across as inauthentic. A fake, a fraud or a pretender; none of which can engender respect from those around you. This ‘poor fit’ erodes credibility and can lead to suspicion and doubts from the other party.

Negotiating incongruently can also leave you feeling uncomfortable and ineffective. It's like wearing a suit that doesn't fit—you'll be preoccupied with discomfort rather than the negotiation itself. It’s near impossible to perform if you’re operating in a state of discomfort. 

Mismatching negotiating styles can likely damage relationships as well. You may come off as insincere or even manipulative, leading to strained interactions that harm both the negotiation and future interactions.

When you're not negotiating authentically, you are more likely to miss opportunities for creative solutions and better outcomes. Your discomfort and lack of alignment can hold you back.

Figuring Out Your Negotiating Style

Start by reflecting on who you are. What are your natural communication preferences? What values drive your decision-making? Understanding yourself is the first step to finding a negotiating style that fits. Proceed to examine your past negotiation experiences. What worked well for you? Where did you struggle? Identifying your strengths and weaknesses can help you tailor your negotiating style.

Don't hesitate to seek feedback from trusted colleagues, rivals or mentors. They can provide valuable insights into your negotiating style and areas for improvement. Your opponents are best placed to give you the most unfiltered feedback. 

It’s not uncommon for litigators to be friends outside the courtroom. Famous adversarial athletes also remain friends off-court. Who can forget the moving scene of Rafael Nadal publicly weeping with Federer, at the close of his arch-rival’s retirement game.

Once you've identified your authentic negotiating style, embrace it. Leverage your strengths and capitalize on what makes you unique as a negotiator.

On the same note, don’t neglect acknowledge areas where you can improve. Seek professional development opportunities, such as negotiation workshops or courses, to keep refine your skills. Sharing your skills is also great way of honing them. I promise you, teaching comes with many of it’s own light-bulb moments during the act of instruction.

Look to role models and successful negotiators who align with your values and dedicate yourself to learning from their experiences and strategies to further develop your negotiating style. Bob Hawke, our former prime minister is my personal icon. Listen to Senator Tony Sheldon remember Bob Hawke's power of negotiation in memoriam 

In a world of negotiation complexities, the first rule of successful negotiations is ensuring your style aligns with who you are. It's not about fitting into someone else's mold—it's about embracing your authenticity. 

When your negotiating style faithfully resonates with your personality and values, you build stronger relationships, achieve better outcomes, and find personal satisfaction in the process. So, go ahead and evaluate your negotiating style by asking yourself: 

Is my negotiating style “a snug fit” for me"? 

Do those I trust and respect most, agree with my evaluation?


You may want to also check out the following:

Getting to Yes 

by Fisher and Ury

Negotiation Styles Around the World 

The Art of Negotiating the Best Deal

Seth Freeman, J.D. Professor, New York University

Chriss Voss teaches Negotiation with MASTERCLASS

[Movie] Thank You for Smoking (2005)

This satirical comedy follows the life of a tobacco industry lobbyist who uses his persuasive negotiation skills to defend the interests of his clients. It highlights the art of persuasion in the face of challenging moral dilemmas.

[Movie] Erin Brockovich (2000)

This biographical drama showcases Erin Brockovich's determination and negotiation skills as she investigates and negotiates on behalf of residents affected by environmental contamination.

[Movie] Pirates of Silicon Valley (1999)

This TV movie explores the rivalry between Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, highlighting negotiation tactics and business strategies in the early days of the tech industry.


Emanuel Perdis is a trauma-informed Anger Management therapist who administers therapeutic counselling for individuals as well as couples. His key specialties for counselling are Anger, Relationships, Trauma and Anxiety. All therapy is delivered online, via Zoom, and enquiries can be made through or on the phone via +61 412 288 081

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