The 8 Archetypes/Personalities in Negotiation

March 22, 2016
Breakthroughs Before Breakfast
April 15, 2016

What kind of negotiator are you? What kind of negotiator would you like to be? In negotiation, part of being a master negotiator is learning how to apply different strategies in different situations. The foundation of that is understanding the different personalities or archetypes that people negotiate from. They are known as negotiation archetypes.

What is a negotiation archetype? An archetype is a pattern of behavior or thought. It’s a way of being that has certain characteristics and behaviors. It could be looked at like a role being played but in the sense that it’s the way someone operates within that role. It can be contrived or it can be realistic.

In negotiation, people negotiate from certain archetypes. They do this without thinking at first, then when they become aware of different ways of being, they can apply or take on the role of a certain archetype in order to communicate with someone in a discussion to reach an agreement.

The following 8 archetypes may not be an all-inclusive list but are the primary means by which a person negotiates. There is a way to strive for a balance of these archetypes and apply them to our negotiations based on the given negotiation situation at hand. It should be noted that all negotiations should be done in an ethical manner striving for win-win results.

1. The Direct Communicator – This archetype is someone who get’s to the point every time. They don’t have any time for hearing the story or any excessive communication that will waste time. They want to discuss the facts only and not hear any of the back story. They ask for what they want. Their way of communication is clear, concise, powerful and quick to get an agreement or resolution to the negotiation situation.

2. The Politician – This archetype is someone who influences others or outmaneuvers others. They often seeks support by appealing to popular passions and prejudices through carefully crafted language. A politician in negotiation typically campaigns to influence or persuade other to their point of view. It often times is only for their own advantage also known as a win-lose proposition.

3. The Hinter – This is the opposite of the Direct Communicator. The Hinter Archetype does not ask for anything directly. They hint around at what they want. It can be done out of fear of being rejected or sometimes it is done as a manipulation technique to get the other party to do what they want them to do without them asking themselves.

4. The Storyteller – This archetype wants to tell the entire story. This is the ask a person what time it is and they tell you how to build the watch situation. With this archetype it’s hard to find out what the point is because they often times go on and on about the situation.

5. The Bully – This archetype uses bully tactics to get their way in a negotiation. It could be by yelling or body posture. It could be by threats or harassment or whatever they think is necessary to take over the power position in the negotiation and back the other side into a corner and make them fearful. The object is to get them to just give in and agree to the bullies deal.

6. The Non Negotiator – This archetype doesn’t negotiate at all. They fear negotiation and think it is confrontational and want no part of it. They will agree to whatever the other party wants even if it means losing significantly. They just want the situation to go away as quickly as possible.

7. The Victim – This archetype attempts to use their hard luck to gain sympathy for their situation. They may go on in great detail about the situation they are in and make you feel sorry for them so you will agree to their position and not negotiate.

8. The Nutburger – This archetype is someone you can’t negotiate with. There’s no reasoning with someone who’s behavior is irrational, overly emotional or just plain nutty. You may be able to step away until they calm down but if engaging with them causes you anxiety, stress, frustration or anger – keep clear.

My Fair Lady/An Officer and a Gentleman – These archetypes are what you want to strive for in your negotiations. Characteristics include negotiating with integrity, ethics and considering what is and is not fair and reasonable for both sides to create a win-win outcome. It requires you to know when to use what strategy. You may use some of the archetype characteristics above in different situations. It is knowing which ones to use and when to use them in an ethical way to achieve your objectives in the negotiation.

Understanding these archetypes and starting to recognize where you fall and where other people are in relation to you will help you in your discussions and reaching agreements with people.

Post comments about your examples with people in relation to these archetypes. What archetype are you? How have you dealt with your polar opposite archetype?

I’m interested to hear your stories.

Happy Negotiating!

Eldonna Lewis Fernandez

Eldonna Lewis Fernandez
Eldonna Lewis Fernandez
Veteran negotiation and contracts expert Eldonna Lewis-Fernandez, author of “Think Like a Negotiator,” has over 30 years of experience crafting killer deals both stateside and internationally, many in excess of $100 million. She’s currently the CEO of Dynamic Vision International — a specialized consulting and training firm that helps individuals hone negotiation skills — as well as a nationally regarded keynote speaker, session leader and panelist on the Art of Negotiation. Eldonna may be reached online at

1 Comment

  1. Sara says:

    Great post! If I’m being honest, I have to say that I’m the non-negotiator by default. But I’m getting better at handling confrontation and not allowing myself to be intimidated.

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