Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 11

Communication and Personality in Negotiation Communication and Personality in Negotiations This hub describes a negotiation situation that I have

participated in (e.g., sale/purchase of a house, car, salary, etc.). It also analyzes the roles of communication and personality in negotiation and how they contributed to or detracted from the negotiation. By understanding that the person you are negotiating with communicates, and what personality best suits effective long-term negotiations, you will be better prepared to produce a mutually successful outcome. As a manager, you will want to consider the personality of the person negotiations will be taking place so that you can select a compatible employee to engage in these negotiations. Sample Negotiations and how Communication & Personality play a role: Successful companies use negotiation as a tool to keep pricing competitive, reduce expenses, and increase profits. The owner of Heathers Crew uses negotiation strategies daily as she negotiates prices with suppliers, and negotiates pay for roof crews. She also uses negotiation to find the best deals on advertising, and negotiates individual contract terms with customers. Communication is one of the most important pieces of the negotiating process, and the personality of the parties involved in negotiations plays a large role in the way agreements form. In fact, many of the most important factors that shape a negotiation result do not occur during

the negotiation; they occur before the parties start to negotiate, or shape the context around the negotiation (Barry, Lewicki, Saunders, 2006). Negotiating Material Prices At Heathers Crew, some of the most difficult negations were used to gain competitive prices on materials. For most construction projects, the cost of materials exceeds all other expenses including labor. Because of this, negotiating the lowest possible material prices is the best way to gain an advantage over competitive roofing companies. Unfortunately, most companies that sell roofing supplies reward their regular customers with better prices, but new roofing companies will have difficulty acquiring business if they can not offer their customers competitive prices. As a new company, Heathers Crew was able to find the best prices by talking with several supply companies, and using each companys prices against the others to slowly reduce prices. The owner of Heathers Crew tried to do most of her negotiating by phone. This allowed her the advantage of quick conversations that were price focused, and kept the discussions based on numbers rather than friendly banter. This strategy also helped her make each supplier feel it had to offer the lowest possible prices to gain her future business. During this process, ABC Supply Company stood out as having consistently better prices. Another point of attraction for Heathers Crew about ABC Supply during the negotiation process is that they offered to reduce prices

with very little resistance. Still, the owner of Heathers Crew wanted to be sure that she was receiving the lowest prices. So, when she reached a point in negotiations with ABC where they were insistent that the prices she was given were the lowest available, she took the price list to each of the other supply companies in the area to see if they would beat ABCs lowest price. Every other supply company reluctantly admitted that it would be unable to meet the negotiated prices, and that beating the prices ABC had given Heathers Crew would be impossible. At this time, Heathers Crew and ABC Supply Company were able to reach a win-win solution in which both companies became more profitable because of one another. The lower prices that ABC Supply Company provided for Heathers Crew helped it win more roofing jobs, which results in the purchase of more supplies from ABC. Communications in Negotiations Reduced to its essence, negotiation is a form of interpersonal communication. Communication processes, both verbal and nonverbal, are critical to achieving negotiation goals and to resolving conflicts (Barry, Lewicki, Saunders, 2006). Negotiations can occur in a variety of forums, and each forum requires the use of numerous communication tools. When negotiating material prices, Heathers Crew decided the most advantageous forum for communication would be through the phone. On the other hand, the supply company would have likely benefited from negotiating in person. By choosing to communicate via phone, Heathers Crew gave each of the potential suppliers the impression that its time

was important, and that numbers were what mattered more than personal interaction. This took away the suppliers ability to effectively negotiate using customer service or compatibility as selling points. Additionally, Heathers Crew was able to avoid answering questions that gave too much information away without seeming as impolite or abrupt. This strategy allowed Heathers Crew to maintain good report, to make their time seem valuable, and to discretely hide information that would take away negotiation power. When negotiating, both parties involved usually prefer to keep certain information private. Still, because each side wants to obtain some information and to conceal other information, and because each side knows that the other also wants to obtain and conceal information, communication can become complex (Barry, Lewicki, Saunders, 2006). For example, ABC Supply Company wants to make the most from each transaction as possible, and so it benefits from hiding its lowest offer from contractors. ABC Supply also benefits from keeping contractors from finding out how much it pays for each item and from finding out where it orders the materials wholesale. Similarly, Heathers Crew benefits from keeping the prices that other supply companies are offering private during the early negotiating stages. This prevents the suppliers who would normally charge much less from simply setting prices directly below the prices of competitors. As a new company, Heathers Crew also benefited from only giving minimal information related to the number of roofs and estimates given each week.

Personality in Negotiations Personality also plays a large role in negotiations. Although individual differences may predispose bargainers to behave in certain ways, key structural factors such as the nature of the bargaining problem, the relative power between negotiators, pressures from constituencies, or simply the behavior of the other negotiator may matter more. For example, if ABC Supply Company were given the opportunity to demonstrate integrity and genuine concern for the companies they supply for, negotiations would likely have leaned in their favor despite the prices of other supply companies. Similarly, had ABC learned about the owner of Heathers Crew, and her committed nature that drives her toward long term working relationships, the supply company may have been more willing to give her company the same prices that long-term companies receive without the drawn out negotiation process. Unfortunately, many behaviors can detract from successful negotiations. When character traits are perceived as overly competitive or dishonest, the trust between negotiating parties is diminished and finding resolution is more difficult. "good negotiator possesses awareness, patience, and good communication skills" (McGuire, 2004). To minimize conflict during negotiations, parties involved must work to compromise and find solutions that benefit everyone. Heathers Crew negotiates prices with material suppliers and workers. In the same way, the owner negotiates contract prices with customers in a way that

allows both the consumer and the company to benefit. Still, many people begin negotiations with only their own interests in mind. For any company to remain successful over time, negotiations are a vital tool that keeps pricing affordable, expenses manageable, and profits at their best. Successful negotiations rely on the communication between each party, and negotiations often influenced by the personality traits of those bargaining.
People negotiate differently and behave differently during the negotiation process. We can observe different styles of negotiation and how different types of behavior can affect the outcome of negotiations. In commercial negotiations, some people negotiate quickly and take risks; others take their time and try to avoid risk. Some buyers are very loyal, others will automatically shop around. Some negotiators can be quite intimidating to the point of being rude; others are quite passive and easily manipulated. This makes selling and negotiating a real challenge. To negotiate with all these different buyer types, we need to be able to adapt our behavior and be flexible in our approach. To begin this process, we can look at two aspects of buyer behavior assertiveness and responsiveness. People who are assertive are confident and know what they want. They are not afraid to put forward opinions and are willing to listen to the opinions of others. They are not afraid of conflict and will be more than happy to argue their case. People who are highly assertive can be seen as being aggressive, while people who lack assertiveness are often passive and get taken advantage of. There are times when it is appropriate to be more or less assertive and we need to recognize when these times are. Responsiveness means the extent to which people are willing to respond to us and our questions. Some people are highly responsive and will give lots of information about themselves, their problems

and needs. Others are unwilling or unable to respond in this way and we see these people often as being negative or difficult. We are all different some of us are naturally assertive and some of us are not. Salespeople tend to be quite responsive, but sometimes we lack assertion. An example of this is during negotiations. When customers put us under pressure to reduce prices or give discounts, we find it difficult and uncomfortable and worry about damaging the relationship with the buyer. There are four basic styles of behavior and these are determined by the way in which people relate to one another. How can you ensure that you approach people in the correct way? Knowing About Social Styles developed by Merrill and Reid, is a theory which I have discussed in several of my articles and it is very useful to have a thorough understanding of it when negotiating. In the Social Styles Model there are four basic styles, or preferred ways of interacting with others. Merrill and Reid believe that a persons social style is a way of coping with others. People become most comfortable with that style, in themselves and others. In fact, I discuss this in further detail here How To Identify And Communicate With The Four Personality Types Resident In Every Boardroom

The Four Social Styles And How You Should Negotiate With Them Driver: The Director. Assertive, but not responsive Task, rather than people oriented Decisive and determined Controlled emotions Set on efficiency and effectiveness Likes control, often in a hurry Firm, stable relationships

Stubborn, tough Impatient Inflexible, poor listener To Negotiate With Drivers: Plan to ask questions about and discuss specifics, actions and results Use facts and logic When necessary, disagree with facts rather than opinions, be assertive Keep it business-like, efficient and to the point Personal guarantees and testimonials are least effective better to

provide options and facts Do not invade personal space

Expressive: The Socializer Assertive and responsive Reactive, impulsive, decisions spontaneous, intuitive Placing more importance on relationships than tasks Emotionally expressive, sometimes dramatic Flexible agenda, short attention span, easily loved Enthusiastic Strong persuasive skills, talkative and gregarious Optimistic, takes risks Creative To Negotiate With Expressives: Seek opinions in an area you wish to develop to achieve mutual understanding Discussion should be people, as well as fact, oriented

Keep summarizing, work out specifics on points of agreement Try short, fast moving experience stories Make sure to pin them down in a friendly way Remember to discuss the future, as well as the present Look out for the impulse buy Amiable: The Supporter Not assertive but responsive Dependent on others Respectful, willing and agreeable Emotionally expressive Everyones friend, supportive, soft-hearted Low risk taker, likes security Group builder Over-sensitive Not goal orientated To Negotiate With Amiables: Work, jointly, seek common ground Find out about personal interests and family Be patient and avoid going for what looks like an easy pushover Use personal assurance and specific guarantees and avoid options and probabilities Take time to be agreeable Focus discussion on how Demonstrate low risk solutions Dont take advantage of their good nature

Analytical: The Clinician Not assertive, not responsive Precise, orderly and business-like Rational and co-operative Self-controlled and serious Motivated by logic and facts Not quick to make decisions Distrusts persuasive people Like things in writing and detail Security conscious Critical, aloof, skeptical Excellent problem solver Likes rigid timetables To Negotiate With Analyticals: Take action rather than words to demonstrate helpfulness and willingness Stick to specifics. Analyticals expect salesmen to overstate Their decisions are based on facts and logic and they avoid risk They can often be very co-operative, but established relationships take time Consider telling them what the product wont do. they will respect you for it and they will have spotted the deficiencies anyway Discuss reasons and ask why questions Become less responsive and less assertive yourself If you are serious about developing not just your negotiation skills, but also your all-round communication skills, I do advise you to familiarize yourself with the Social Styles model.