Have you ever left an important conversation and felt like you weren’t talking about the same topic?

How many times have you wondered what the other person was thinking?

Would it be helpful to know how to adjust your requests to improve your results?

You are likely aware that everyone has a preferred communication style. Negotiating great results often rests on your ability to determine your negotiating style and the styles of others.

Do you, or the person you are negotiating with, prefer to decide, engage, accommodate or leverage?


Serious and effective, deciders are action-oriented, are bottom-line focused and like to make decisions. They like the big picture and enjoy challenging questions.

What doesn’t work: Chitchat with unnecessary details. Don’t waste your time.

How to negotiate: Ask right away, and be ready to back up your request with supportive facts or examples. Use logic instead of emotion.

What to ask:

  • If you could address anything today, what would it be?
  • How will you determine if this attempt is successful?


Outgoing and fun, engagers are relationship-driven and connect well. They are often the life of the party or the most exciting person in the room.

What doesn’t work: Boring facts and serious information with no creativity or connection to other people.

How to negotiate: Ask them for innovative and inspirational ideas.

What to ask:

  • What are some creative ways we can lighten the mood around here?
  • How can we communicate this dry material in an engaging way?


Pleasant, approachable and agreeable, accommodators focus on how requests benefit people. They appreciate when requests are respectful and considerate.

What doesn’t work: Treating them or those around them with disrespect. Jumping protocol or going around them will burn this bridge.

How to negotiate: Ask how they believe the request will benefit others.

What to ask:

  • How is the news of the change affecting people’s attitudes?
  • What would you do to begin recognizing the efforts of others?


Good with systems and processes, leveragers like to learn. They are more likely to say “yes” if the request is supported by thoughtful consideration and if the best solution can be leveraged to improve efficiency.

What doesn’t work: Quick requests that rush the examination process or disregard the systems in place. Undefined questions that aren’t clear about the information that is needed.

How to negotiate: Ask specific questions with time to consider your thought-out plan. They want to compare their logic and facts with yours.

What to ask:

  • What is the best way to ensure you have all the information you need?
  • When you think through the projects that were implemented correctly, what were the tools that measured their success?

While everyone can use all of these styles, usually we prefer to use one or two. The best negotiators adjust their styles to accommodate others’ preferences.

Introversion and Extroversion

You should also consider person’s tendency to be more introverted or extroverted, especially when negotiating. Accommodators and leveragers have introversion traits. They are more likely to take what is given to them than to ask for more. Additionally, they will often make requests privately. Instead of speaking up at a meeting, they may come to you after the meeting to voice concerns or ask for direction.

Deciders and engagers have extroversion traits. They generally don’t have trouble making requests but may need help focusing on the people and details involved. Additionally, they don’t have trouble speaking up at meetings, but they may dominate them with unrelated questions and conversation trails. They process their ideas out loud and revise them in real time. If they ask a sensitive question in front of others, be prepared to say, “I’m not prepared to talk about that right now. Let’s stick to what we came here to do.”