essential previous learningActive Listening

Negotiation Styles

Learn how to use the right style for every negotiation

Key learning outcomes:

  • Recognise that we engage in negotiation in our day-to-day lives, in both a professional and personal context.
  • Distinguish between win–win and loss–loss outcomes in negotiations.
  • Learn about the five styles of negotiation and the typical situations when each is used.
  • Explain how the desire to maintain a relationship or to achieve a particular outcome will determine the style of negotiation you adopt.


Our negotiation skills are put to the test every single day, whether we are negotiating with our family or partner while we finalise the list of invitees for an event, or with our kids as we try to get them into bed, or with a potential customer as we attempt to close a large deal. Negotiating is part of life, and it is important to understand that the style of negotiation that you use should vary depending on the circumstances. This learning article will give you an outline of each style, along with a guide to when it is appropriate to use each style.


You will read a lot about striving to achieve a win–win in negotiations. The reality is that in many cases, a win–win is not possible. Think for example about when you last bought a new car. The dealer might have offered you a car they bought at a wholesale price of $9,000 for a sale price of $10,000. When you go to buy the car, you will aim for the lowest price and the dealer will try to sell it at the highest price. In effect, you are negotiating over a “fixed pie”. In a successful negotiation you will settle on a price that you both feel comfortable with. It might be considered a win–win negotiation: the dealer has sold the car and you have bought it. However, in effect, anything less than $10,000 will mean a loss of profit potential for the dealer, and anything less than $9,000 would be a loss. The key is that it is a loss that they are willing to sustain to successfully negotiate the deal. You will see as we go through each negotiation style in detail that there are times when a win–loss or even a loss–loss negotiation is an appropriate tactic.

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