Negotiating Styles

by Jamie Williams, M.A. LPC-I
Supervised by Beverly Newman, LPC-S, LSSP, RPT-S

As a therapist, I find that many children and adolescents I work with have difficulty in problem solving with others. This not only causes distress for the child or adolescent, but also makes it much more difficult for them to make and keep friends. Conflict arises when two people have different opinions about an issue or issues. Disagreements are a natural part of any relationship.  One of the most beneficial skills that I aim to teach many of my clients is the skill of negotiation. Negotiation is a special skill from which everyone benefits.  Your ability to negotiate will allow you to get what you want without alienating or manipulating others, possibly by compromise, and reach a mutually agreeable solution.

In providing therapeutic services for children and adolescents, I have found that most fall into one of four categories: Talker, Aggressor, Preparer, or Listener.  There is no one best style to use in all situations in which you are negotiating. You do not have a single specific style for dealing with all negotiations.  People are able to use all four styles.  Many of us, however, rely on and get comfortable using one of the styles more often than the others. 

Read the descriptions of each style below to find out which style is most like you. Once you are able to identify which negotiation style fits you most accurately, you have a much better chance of learning to use your communication strengths and weaknesses to use the process of negotiation to benefit everyone involved.

People with a Talker Negotiation Process Style prefer to talk through the negotiation process and to dictate the pace of the process. They prefer to talk rather than listen, and they rely on their conversational skills to try to control the negotiating process. They tend to rely more on emotions and gut feelings than on logic and analysis.  In the end, they need to feel good about the end results.                         

People with an Aggressor Negotiating Process Style rely on facts and logic to accomplish their purpose and meet their needs.  They have clear goals and tend to try to try to steam roll others with little regard to their emotions.  They can become aggressive if pushed in the negotiation process. They are primarily concerned about succeeding in getting what they want out of the negotiation process. They like to be in control of the process and will do what they need to in order to win.                   

People with a Preparer Negotiation Process Style believe that proof of what is right will often determine the outcome of the negotiation.  They believe that if you cannot prove your point logically, then why even negotiate.  They have little need for emotions and feel that emotions play no part in the negotiation process.  They like to be prepared and believe that the best prepared people win in the negotiation process.       

People with a Listener Negotiation Process Style usually prefer listening to talking or arguing.  They will gladly accept assistance from other people during the process because they do not enjoy the negotiation process.  They are guided by their value system, and the process is often more important to them than the end results.  They respect the rules of the negotiating process and desire win-win results.

To learn more about the above mentioned negotiation styles please refer to Self-Regulation for Kids K-12: Strategies for Calming Minds and Behavior by Patricia K. Tollison, Katherine O. Synatschk, and Gaea Logan.