As promised in my webinar last week, we’ll be taking a deeeeep dive into a few negotiation topics that we weren’t able to cover in sufficient depth in our session given the time constraints.

Our first topic: The Two Types of Negotiations.

In preparing for the webinar, I reviewed mountains of the latest research on negotiation facts, figures and theories. After reviewing all of that material, it seems to me that there are really only two negotiation models in the entire universe.

Here they are:

What does this mean?

Competitive (aka “distributive,” “adversarial” or “win/lose”) negotiation pits two or more parties against each other in competition for a fixed amount of value. Each side’s goal is to claim as much value as possible at the expense of the other side.

Collaborative (aka “integrative,” “friendly” or “win/win”) negotiation is about creating AND claiming value. Through collaboration and information sharing, the parties look for ways to satisfy the key objectives of both sides, recognizing that they’ll probably have to give ground on some objectives.

Why is this important?

The type of negotiation you’re facing affects everything from preparation to tactics to closing and beyond.

Few negotiations are purely one or the other. It’s truly a continuum between two extremes. Knowing where your negotiation sits on that continuum is known as the “negotiator’s dilemma.” The key question: “Where should I compete and where should I collaborate?”

The negotiator must choose which game to play – aggressively claiming the value currently on the table (and possibly coming out as the loser) or working with the other side to create even better opportunities that can be shared.

What’s next?

This distinction flows through everything else we’ll talk about on this topic.

Tomorrow, we’ll provide a handy checklist to ensure that you never ever go into a negotiation unprepared. Not surprisingly, the very first question is “What type of negotiation is this?”

Stay tuned.