They say that being able to negotiate is one of the things that separates man from apes, “I will give you my animal hide if you give me your fish” certainly I have never seen animals negotiate they either give in or take. I watch my Labradors when they have both been given a bone and one has finished, he strolls over and takes the one my other dog is still enjoying, nothing has been traded and it certainly isn’t about win win! Negotiation is a really fundamental skill we all need, whether you are in sales, customer service or you’re a leader, in fact we use the skills everyday in our lives dealing with teenagers and partners. It is so easy to get caught up in wanting to win or get the best deal; we can some times forget this is about people and relationships. In this series, we will help you to be an ethical negotiator that gets what they want but not at the expense of others.

Part 1 – What type of negotiator are you?

Before we look at and tools or skills, it is important to have some self awareness around the type of negotiator you might already be as this can help you avoid falling into the same old traps and know when your buttons are being pressed. So answer the question below: –

What is more important results or relationships?

Yep I know its difficult and you want to say both but don’t sit on the fence make a decision, as it will help you to understand where you are coming from.

If you said results then the chances are you are a “RED” negotiator and will want to win and your main focus will be on getting the right deal for you. The danger with this is it can damage relationships because it can cause conflict, lack of trust and other RED”S” wanting to win, which can lead to a lose lose.

If you said relationships the chances are you are a “BLUE” negotiator and will want to preserve the relationship at all costs, this could lead to you giving away too much, giving in too easily and being taken for a mug especially by “RED” negotiators.

The concept of “RED “and “BLUE” originally cam e from the guru of negotiation (in my opinion) Gavin Kennedy who wrote a book called “The new negotiation edge” you may still be able to get this as it is definitely the best book I have ever read on negotiation. Before we go any further take this short quiz and (be really honest) to find out if your are more “BLUE” or “RED”

Attitudes, Beliefs and Behaviours of Negotiators Agree Disagree
1. Negotiators should not reveal their true feelings in case the opponents take advantage.
2. A marginally acceptable deal is better than no deal at all.
3. If an opponent gives me an opportunity to take advantage discreetly, that’s their problem.
4. I will renegotiate profitable deals if the other negotiators say they are in difficulties.
5. I look after my own interests and leave opponents to look after theirs.
6. It is generally beneficial to be open about one’s true circumstances.
7. I am worried about rejection when negotiating.
8. If opponents are too soft and can’t look after themselves, that’s their lookout.
9. A good cause is more worthy than power.
10. When opponents buckle under pressure I should push harder.


Question Agree Disagree
1 Blue Red
2 Red Blue
3 Blue Red
4 Red Blue
5 Blue Red
6 Blue Red
7 Red Blue
8 Red Blue
9 Blue Red
10 Red Blue

Count up your answers to find out if you have more red than blue tendencies. The truth is that neither behaviour is going to work because…..

Reds take and can risk the relationship
Blues give which can risk the results

What we need is a fusion of the two … PURPLE – Take and give trading which protects the results and strengthens the relationship. Next time we will look at what it takes to be a purple negoitator.