What is a Negotiator?

Negotiating is not bartering; nor is it arbitrating or mediation. Negotiation is not limited to the business or legal aspects of our lives. Negotiation is the base process of people interacting with one another. Bartering, arbitrating and mediation are civilized attempts to refine the negotiating process into a disciplined process.

Needing to negotiate is not necessarily a bad situation. Negotiation is not something that can be avoided by choice. Negotiating is not something that is done. It simply is. In a world of opportunity and challenges created by human interaction, negotiating is the staple of human socializing and communal living.

To answer the question what is a negotiator we need to understand better what it is to negotiate. Then we can better appreciate that we are all negotiators.


To negotiate one has to have the ability and interest to do or avoid something; to take action. There must be the want or need to try to improve a specific situation. The motivation behind negotiating is the need to make things better or preserve what we have.

What is a negotiator? Someone presented with an opportunity or challenge in the form of another human being. The results of such human encounters do two things. Obviously, the immediate result of any negotiation is to either satisfy or stymie someone's quest. Equally important, the outcome of the encounter provides experience to both of the parties participating in the encounter.

What is a negotiator? A negotiator can be many things; a bully, a charmer or an appeaser to name a few. Negotiators wear many different personas and use a vast multitude of tactics and styles to get their way. Over time we each develop a predominant negotiating style. We learn each day, each hour, each minute what works and what doesn't based on our life experiences from birth. We don't all learn the same things.

What is a negotiator? Someone trying to satisfy a need or want. The currency of a negotiation may be wealth, recognition, sex, a diaper change or simply peace from a crying child or whining peer. We are trying to improve or avoid some aspect of our lives. It is a composite of needs or wants that drive any negotiation. Especially when someone else has what we want!

The differences between individual negotiations are the commodities at stake. Babies want to be changed or to be nourished. Captains of industry want more land or power. Men want sex and women want security. Needs vary, personalities vary, settings vary, currencies vary, tactics vary, but the process does not.