What is Avoidance Negotiation? 3 Powerful Strategies + Examples
Wait, avoidance negotiation style? How exactly do you do that?
If you’re thinking of negotiators constantly avoiding each other during a negotiation, then you have an imaginative mind, friend.
But in all seriousness, avoidance negotiation can be a powerful negotiation style if used correctly. Read on to learn how to do just that!
Avoidance Negotiation Style – What is It?
The avoidance negotiation style is a negotiation style where you completely ignore the entire negotiation.
To put it simply, you negotiate by not acknowledging the negotiation.
Before you look at me in disbelief, know that the avoidance negotiation style is a powerful negotiation tactic especially when used by an experienced negotiator or procurement manager.
Today, we are going to learn how and why.
Below you’ll see the overview of where avoidance negotiation fits within the negotiation syles framework.
Avoidance Negotiation Style – When to Use It?
Completely opposite with the compromising negotiation style where both parties aim to discuss and gain a common ground, the avoidance negotiation style is used when you’ve made a decision to ignore the negotiations completely.
Some of the instances where you can use this particular negotiation style are as follows:
- The issue being negotiated is not important at all.
- The end results of the negotiation will not be in your favor.
- You’ve lost perspective of the situation and you need to calm down and think.
- Time is needed to get accurate information about the deal.
- A team member is better at handling the negotiation.
- The issue being discussed or negotiated is a part of an even bigger negotiation.
Advantages – Avoidance Negotiation Style
In the eyes of a newly-trained negotiation expert, avoiding negotiations may seem like an opportunity lost. But for a seasoned negotiator or procurement manager, the avoidance negotiation style can bring a lot of advantages not just for your company, but for you as well.
Here are some of the advantages the avoidance negotiation style can give you:
- You can invest more time in preparation by avoiding the negotiation.
- You can also gather more information during the cooldown period.
- You avoid getting pressured in the middle of a losing negotiation.
- You can also save time and effort by actually discussing the important issue during the negotiation.
- You are displaying confidence and calm by avoiding the negotiation to collect your thoughts.
Disadvantages – Avoidance Negotiation Style
If we’ve talked about the advantages, then we should also clearly talk about the disadvantages of the avoidance negotiation style.
By determining each of the disadvantages, the expert negotiator or procurement manager can better acknowledge what strategies he or she can use while using the avoidance negotiation style.
Here are some of the disadvantages of the avoidance negotiation style:
- If the other party is impatient or domineering, avoiding a negotiation may only seem to strengthen their claims.
- You may appear as the weaker party because you are intentionally avoiding the negotiation.
- You can’t give a creative response that may improve the negotiations.
- Your personal reputation could be damaged.
- Avoiding a negotiation is a very volatile solution and thus, it cannot be used many times in a row.
- Sometimes, avoiding a negotiation is a one-time thing. Meaning you might not be able to negotiate anymore.
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Avoidance Negotiation Style Examples
The Camp David Accords
Leaders of Israel and Egypt avoid negotiations after heated negotiations
The Camp David Accords were agreements signed by Israel and Egypt on September 17, 1978.
It was a momentous occassion as heavy fighting between the two countries had erupted when Israel occupied some of the territories claimed by Egypt. President Jimmy Carter vowed to establish peace between the two nations, so he invited the leaders of both countries to visit him in Camp David in rural Maryland for another shot at peaceful negotiations.
Both leaders stayed in Camp David for 13 days and negotiations were so heated that both leaders decided to avoid further negotiations. Prospects for a settlement became so bleak that Egyptian President Anwar Sadat threatened to leave. At the last minute, however, Isreali Prime Minister Menachem Begin began to allow the Israeli parliament to hold discussions regarding the settlements that were established on Egyptian captured territory.
Discussions began again between the two countries until both leaders agreed to some of President Carter’s proposals. The accords were signed and the two countries formally ended the war.
It’s said that the long waiting period must have pressured the Israeli prime minister to give in to concessions, despite his stand on not abandoning the settlements that were built on captured Egyptian territory.
The Trump Wall
Ex-president Trump’s failed wall negotiations with Mexico
During his 2016 Presidential campaign, Donald Trump promised his supporters that the United States will build a wall along the Mexican border to reduce illegal immigration and combat drug and weapons trafficking. He also stated that Mexico will be the ones to pay for the wall; a popular gimmick to capture the favor of Americans who believe that the US should be careful with how it spends its budget.
The campaign promise proved to be effective as Donald Trump wins the elections and is sworn in as President. However, Mexico did not like the idea one bit, with the Mexican President stating that his country “…does not believe in walls but believes in bridges”.
High-level negotiators from the US and Mexico were already scheduled to begin talks on trade, immigration, and border security while the Mexican President agreed to travel to the White House for meetings on January 31, 2016. Unfortunately, on the night of January 25, Trump stated in an interview that planning for the wall was starting immediately and that “federal funds would be used to pay for the wall and that the US government would seek reimbursement from Mexico.” This aggravated the situation, with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto canceling his trip to Washington when Trump reiterated his stance.
A few days after the event, Trump’s adviser managed to get both leaders on a one-hour phone call. Both leaders said that the call was “productive” and that they both agreed to not discuss the wall issue publicly.
No mention of the wall project was mentioned again until Trump’s election defeat in 2020.
Want to check out more negotiation case studies? We actually created an overview with 13 inspiring real-life negotiation examples.
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Avoidance Negotiation Strategies to apply yourself
Strategy 1 – Know what the issue Is
The key to using the avoidance negotiation style effectively is by knowing exactly what you’re going to negotiate for. If the issue is a major one and that it will certainly affect not just your reputation, but your business as well, then by all means carry on.
However, if the issue is minuscule and is also a lesser issue that is brought about by a separate bigger issue, then use the avoidance negotiation style to save time and effort.
Example of external avoidance:
Ralph wants to buy new printers for his office. He calls the largest printing company in town and his preference is to buy the new printers from a reliable brand. The salesman is trying to force him to buy the printers from a new brand that they are promoting.
Salesman: “This new brand is state-of-the-art and has more vibrant colors!”
Ralph: “No thanks. I’ve been using my current brand for years now and it works fine for me. Thanks for the information though.”
Strategy 2 – Be polite but firm when speaking
Avoiding a negotiation is tough on some occasions but when it has to be done, it has to be done. Therefore, if you’re going to avoid negotiation, always be polite but firm when speaking. Never make the other party feel that you are just bluffing. Stand straight, look the other party in the eye, and inform them calmly of your decision.
Example of internal avoidance:
While discussing with his team members ways to procure more tables for the office, Ralph realizes that his team members are now becoming unruly and are no longer listening to one another.
Being the team leader, Ralph calls everyone to attention.
When his team members are aware of his presence, Ralph then looks all of them in the eye and delivers the following statement with a firm voice.
Ralph: “Team, while all of your suggestions are good, discussing all of them at once is simply just wasting our time. I propose that we all cancel this discussion for now and collect our thoughts. Once everyone is ready to hear one another again, let’s hold another meeting, in which I decide at the end what our final call will be.”
- What is avoidance negotiation?
- It is a form of negotiation where the negotiator ignores the negotiation itself.
- When to use avoidance negotiation?
- Avoidance negotiation is often used against an opponent that is known to use hardball tactics during negotiations.
- Why would you use an avoidance negotiation style?
- Avoiding negotiations is often a tactic used to give two parties time to calm down after a heated argument or negotiation.
Become a Master of the Avoidance Negotiation Style
The avoidance negotiation style is indeed unique but very powerful.
Once acquired, this will definitely help you become a master negotiator or procurement manager. Learn more about this effective negotiation style and more with our Negotiation Game Changer Program!
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