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The Ideal Negotiator

By Peter Stark

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Sharks, Carp and Dolphins

Basically, there are three different types of negotiators, which closely parallel the three different kinds of businesspeople discussed in The Strategy of the Dolphin by Dudley Lynch and Paul L. Kordis. Lynch and Kordis compare the three types of businesspeople to sharks, carp and dolphins to shed light on their distinct behaviors. I think that applying the same metaphor to negotiators provides a better understanding of the three negotiating styles.


Sharks believe in scarcity. Their perception is that in all negotiations, there must be winners and losers. To ensure that they won’t be the losers, sharks move in for the kill, striving to get as much as they can in every case, regardless of the cost.

When negotiating, the shark’s basic nature is to take over or trade off. If their efforts to win are thwarted, they will resort to a trade-off strategy. But they feel comfortable only when they are in total control, so one of their characteristics is a tendency to use crises to confuse the other party. A second characteristic of sharks is to assume that they always have the only possible solution to any negotiation. They have a desperate need to be right 100 percent of the time and will go to any extreme, including lying, to cover up their failures and shortcomings.

The Ideal Negotiator By Peter Stark


Copyright © 2014 Peter B. Stark
Copyright ©   2014  The Negotiator Magazine
The Negotiator Magazine  November 2014