5 Negotiation Approaches – Which One Should You Use and When

Negotiation is the process by which two or more entities come together to discuss common and conflicting interests in order to reach an agreement of mutual benefit.

The important part of the above definition is that negotiation is between two entities who reach an agreement of mutual benefit. You want to make sure that you get what you want and that the other party gets what they want, too.

Sounds easy, but it definitely isn’t. It can actually be a very hard process, particularly if you don’t have the skills necessary while the other person does.

When someone wants something from you, what do you normally do?

See if you recognize if you do any of these 5 approaches to negotiation:

1. Avoid or Delay – you avoid negotiating with others and/or try to delay interacting with the other party. This is an appropriate approach when you don’t have all the information you need during the negotiating process and you have to do some research before you can proceed. You can also avoid the negotiation process when you are not the right person or do not want to enter into a negotiation with the other person.

2. Accept it – you accept whatever the other person requires of you. This approach can be used when you feel that you are getting what you want from the negotiation and just accept the offer. You can also use this approach because you don’t want to enter into a negotiation and are willing to accept what is given to you.

3. Bargain – you take a hard bargaining approach with the other person. This approach can be used when you are very firm with what you have to offer the other person and are not willing to accept anything less from them. This can be equivalent to saying this is my bottom line and the other person has to either accept or reject the offer. Building a relationship is not important when this approach is used.

4. Compromise – you try to compromise with the other person and at the same time you try not giving up what you really want. You can use this approach when you feel that you will not receive everything that you need from the negotiation process and are willing to accept what you can get from the other person. This is not an ideal situation, but you feel better because you could have ended up with nothing from the process. The other person doesn’t get everything that they want either.

5. Collaboration – you cooperate with the other person so that you enter into a win/win scenario where each person gets what they need from the negotiation. Collaboration is the most beneficial negotiation approach to take in most situations but it’s not for all situations. When you want to continue having a relationship with the other person, you would most likely use this approach so that you are not burning any bridges with the other person. Each person in the negotiation process takes into account the needs and desires of the other person to see if both parties can get what they need from the other.

Depending on your personal style and situation, you can use one or any combination of the above negotiation approaches to get what you need from the other person in any negotiation.