Entrepreneurial Journey


Negotiation Styles

Understand your negotiation strengths.

Understand your negotiation strengths.

Advice for Women in Business

There are three commonly known negotiation styles: aggressive, passive and principled. Professional women encounter and are known to be capable of utilizing each of the approaches. These entrepreneur women waver from passive to aggressive often in an attempt to find a happy middle. That middle is principled negotiation and in the face of another party being passive or aggressive, the principled way is challenging to uphold.

Aggressive is most commonly marked by abrupt, evasive, superior and confrontational kinds of behavior. The aggressive negotiator attempts to dominate the negotiations. Words like should and you are used often. There is a lot of posturing. Aggressive negotiations are known for being rude, however they are not always. No business person likes to walk away from a table having lost. An aggressive negotiator tries to win and leave the other party or parties as the loser.

Passive negotiators will give up everything they have without an interchange. Passive negotiators do not speak up, do not offer argument when legitimately appropriate and acquiesce quietly.

Principled negotiators attempt to find a fair resolution based on information and interests of the parties involved. The principled negotiator often leads the way to finding an amicable solution that meets the main objectives and needs of related counterparts. The solution is not always the middle ground, and all needs by all parties are not usually met, but main needs are. When a relationship is to be preserved, principled negotiations are usually preferable.

Leverage is often the basis for the type of negotiation approach used. A desire to build a reputation as a fair business may also lead a negotiator to use the principled approach. In the world of increasing connections through technology, conglomerates, industry organizations and rapid communication, even the "stronger parties" with leverage, who may have been able to negotiate aggressively and get what they could instead of what was fair, are open to negative reputation consequences after leaving a "weaker" party with a bad taste in his/her mouth.

For more information on negotiations and related techniques, see: William Ury -- Overcoming Barriers to Principled Negotiation, and Sally Engle Merry -- Cultural Aspects of Disputing.

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About the Author

Jean Lewis

Jean Lewis, 

has edited and written for consumer Web sites and publications reaching nearly 50 million people. Her credits include writing and editing online and print articles, sales and training materials, marketing collateral, and advertising and PR for conusmer companies including BeautiControl, a Tupperware subsidiary's publications to women ages 20s through 50s, the WHO Foundation, Women Helping Others, MCG Magazine, Los Angeles and Seasonal Living Guide for Sam’s Club, a retailing subsidiary of Wal-Mart. Her career also includes working and living in Canada and Japan. Jean is well regarded for her market-research based approach to managing story development enabling consistently original, relevant and timely content.

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