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Build your negotiation skills, Part II

Find your profile as a negotiator and learn whether you can make improvements.

Negotiation and bargaining are skills useful to all business operators, whether for hiring or making agreements with customers or suppliers, and they are skills you can develop.

In this second of a series we examine five common negotiation styles with Charlotte Lacroix, DVM, founder and CEO of Veterinary Business Advisors, Inc., a New-Jersey based company which serves the veterinary community.

This should help readers identify their own behaviors and recognize that of others, in turn setting the stage for a more successful agreement.

1. Competing: These negotiators are high in assertiveness and low in cooperativeness. They are self-confident, focus on results, and tend to impose their views on others.

2. Avoiding: These negotiators are low in assertiveness and cooperativeness. They tend to be passive and avoid conflict when possible. They tend to remove themselves from negotiations whenever possible and may pass responsibility to another for resolution.

3. Collaborating: These negotiators are high in assertiveness and cooperativeness. They use open and honest communication, and search for creative solutions that serve all parties. Commonly they offer several solutions for the other party or parties to consider.

4. Accomodating: These negotiators are low in assertiveness and high in cooperativeness. They tend to downplay conflicts and smooth over differences to maintain relationships. They are most concerned with satisfying the other party.

5. Compromising: These negotiators are moderate in assertiveness and cooperativeness. They search for common ground and are willing to meet the other party in the middle. They are usually willing to give and take, and to accept moderate satisfaction for their side.

Lacroix says regardless of which style negotiators are involved, if both parties are committed to the business relationship and see value therein, negotiations can succeed.

Challenges to success of any negotiations come in several forms, again regardless of styles. These can be negotiators who are unreasonable, uninformed or stubborn.

Also, a negotiator who doesn't need the deal, isn't in a hurry, or knows the other party is without other options or in a time crunch, may gain an advantage.

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