The Top Bargaining Styles to Use in Negotiation

Bargaining stylesThere is no singular bargaining style that is most effective in the negotiation process. All people, even negotiators, have their own unique set of experiences and outlooks that affect their communication and negotiating style.

Skillful negotiator understands the different negotiation styles, the negotiation techniques that make them the most comfortable in negotiations, and how to use different styles of negotiation to secure the best deal.

This post will explore the most common negotiation styles used by skilled negotiators. Not only will we explain the details of each negotiation style, but we will also highlight the situations where different negotiation styles work best.

Whether you have upcoming business negotiations or you are looking for ways to find creative solutions to disagreements, it is important to have an understanding of different negotiation styles and how they work.

The 5 Negotiation Styles

Would it surprise you to learn that there are five negotiation styles most commonly used? Every negotiating style has its advantages and disadvantages.

If you want to improve your negotiating skills, you should try to understand the ins and outs of each negotiation style.

The five negotiation styles that every effective negotiator needs to know to include the following:

  • Competitive
  • Collaborative
  • Accommodating
  • Avoiding
  • Compromising


The competitive negotiation style is an interesting strategy used by competitive negotiators to get the most favorable deal. It involves two parties, each with their own set of goals and objectives, attempting to outmaneuver each other for the best outcome.

The Competitive negotiation style requires honed skills as it can easily become contentious and unproductive if not managed correctly by competitive negotiators.

That said, when done well, the competitive negotiation style offers the potential for great rewards from winning concessions or being able to obtain a more suitable agreement than would have been achieved without it.

This is the primary negotiation style that most people are familiar with. Compared to other negotiation styles the competitive style is focused more on one’s own interests rather than finding innovative solutions or worrying about the other party’s needs.

A competitive negotiator is not looking for a middle ground with the other party.


Collaborative negotiation is a negotiating style where two or more parties focus on collectively finding mutually beneficial solutions.

The collaborative negotiation style is rooted in the belief that, if each person gets a little bit of what they want, and all parties work together to find a successful resolution, then everyone has something to gain.

Through the collaborative negotiation style, disputing parties can arrive at an agreement which meets their shared interests as well as their individual needs.

By emphasizing collaboration over competition, this style of negotiation encourages understanding, trust, and respect between those who may otherwise be working against each other.

When it comes to making successful deals and achieving productive outcomes, the collaborative style of negotiation is a great tool for charting beneficial roads forward.

Collaborative negotiators seek win-win outcomes. The collaborative style is great for building a future relationship with the other party. Collaborative negotiators understand that collaboration is an effective path toward a future productive relationship.


The accommodating negotiation style is a process in which a negotiator will reach an agreement by putting the interests of the other party first. It is based on selfless cooperation, and can have a positive impact on relationships.

While the accommodating style is a lose-win model. Accommodating negotiators give the other party what they want this time in order to preserve relationships and build rapport.

Accommodating negotiation strategies are often employed to repair damaged relationships. Negotiators might also use this style to set up wins in future negotiations.

Accommodating negotiation is the direct opposite stylistically of the competitive style. Instead of the outcome, the relationship is the most important facet of accommodating negotiations.


Avoidance negotiation is a common approach used when parties in a dispute would rather resolve their differences without conflict.

It typically begins with identifying the areas of disagreement, followed by developing solutions that are mutually beneficial to both sides. The main advantage of this style is that it keeps the relationship intact and lessens the risk of escalating tensions or creating significant animosity between the disputing parties.

Additionally, this method of negotiation can be used to reach creative solutions to difficult problems. However, they should not be overdone because they can often lead to a disproportionate amount of resources spent on non-essentials.

Furthermore, avoiding extreme stances taken by either side can mean compromising important aspects of your own position for the sake of a resolution.

In summary, the avoidance negotiation style is an effective way to resolve disagreements without causing further harm as long as care is taken not to allow the process to become too prolonged or misguided.


Compromising negotiation can be difficult but also extremely rewarding. It requires patience and an ability to communicate in order to come to an agreement beneficial for both sides.

Compromising successfully opens the door to healthy collaborative relationships and sets the foundation for trust between parties.

It’s important to remember that while compromise includes a willingness to sacrifice some of one’s expectations, it should never mean sacrificing core values or beliefs.

With clear communication, meaningful compromises can be reached that ensure the mutual satisfaction of all involved parties.

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