My friend Jason Tavaria posted this link to charts about national negotiating styles to an email group I’m a member of (apologies to other members of the ICE Group reading this for the repetition).

This is how we English negotiate:

people-in-the-uk-tend-to-avoid-confrontation-in-an-understated-mannered-and-humorous-style-that-can-be-either-powerful-or-inefficient

I certainly recognise that in myself and my compatriots. Perhaps more interestingly it also helps make sense of where I’m different. I’m very direct by nature and have a strong preference for clarity and speed which leads me to try and push negotiations through the two middle stages as fast as possible. I want to go straight from “reasonable proposal” to “re-packaging” by staying calm and using humour as my tool and can lose patience in the middle stages when people I’m negotiating with are using coded speech and stalling.

And here’s how people in the US negotiate:

americans-lay-their-cards-on-the-table-and-resolve-disagreements-quickly-with-one-or-both-sides-making-concessions

The “cards on the table” approach fits well with my style, but no matter how many times I go through fighting in the middle of a negotiation always leaves me wondering if the other person is a … not very nice person. That feeling can go away quite quickly, but it’s definitely there. Knowing that feeling is coming from my British dislike for confrontation definitely helps.

In any negotiation (or interaction in general) knowing yourself and knowing the other side helps find the white space and get a result. These charts are a good tool.