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Negotiating for Success: Negotiating With Style

Diane Magrane, MD
April 25, 2011

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Background: Why are we discussing styles for bargaining?

This lesson on negotiation recognizes that each of us has a preference for how we approach issues of conflict and negotiation. Certainly we don’t use the same approach to every problem, but each of us has a tendency to resort to one or two styles that are particularly comfortable to us, a style that seems to arise naturally. Sometimes we use different styles in different situations.  We can enhance our negotiations by learning to use additional styles and by understanding the preferences of the other parties engaged in the discussion. As with any skill, the more adaptable our approaches, the more styles we are able to call into practice, the more likely we are to be effective and satisfied with the results of our interactions.

Why are we discussing conflict management styles in a lesson on negotiation? Because, as Professor Steven Blum of the Wharton School of Business tells participants of the AAMC Executive Development Seminars, “negotiators and conflict managers are dipping into the same toolbox to try to resolve the dispute that lies between their current positions and the agreement they hope to achieve.” Blum teaches that negotiation and conflict management are “two sides of the very same coin.  While negotiation is an attempt to influence another to do something you want her to do, conflict management can be thought of as trying to induce another to stop acting in ways that are in conflict with our own needs or best interests.  The skillset is similar and overlapping.”

While it is useful to recognize your preferred style and to second-guess the other party’s style, it is important to be genuine in the interactions. Freund, quoted in Shell’s book, Bargaining for Advantage, says, “credibility, based upon an evident sincerity, is the most important single asset of a good negotiator.” In two words: be yourself.

A Summary of Conflict Management/Negotiation Styles

An Exercise in Role Reversal: Four Steps to Effective Negotiation

Additional Resources

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