Opposites Attract Except in Negotiating

Years ago, Gregg and I had to convince our premarital counselor that our wedding was a good idea. Our counselor was deeply concerned about our results on the “Are You Compatible” assessment. He boldly asked us, “What exactly do you two have in common?”

We weren’t worried because the assessment confirmed what we noticed on our first date – our communication styles were very different. Gregg reflects before he speaks and leverages facts to make his point. He is attuned to others’ feelings and how a message will land. Not surprisingly, I am straight-forward, like asking questions and engaging with others. I often do my best thinking when discussing options or identifying objections. 

Gregg had a thoughtful response for our worried counselor. He said, “We have the important things in common. We share similar beliefs about religion, marriage, and how to raise a family. We respect and love each other, even when facing tough situations. And we talk and laugh a lot.” Can you guess what I was thinking? I took the counselor’s questions and doubts as a challenge and thought, “Ha! We’ll show him. Challenge accepted!” 

Does the Way You Communicate Get in Your Way? 

The way you communicate might prevent you from getting what you want personally and professionally. Working with leaders, co-workers, clients, vendors, and even spouses who think and communicate differently can be a challenge. Knowing how you like to communicate helps you prepare to deal with other styles. When you negotiate with people do you prefer to:  Decide, Engage, Accommodate, or Leverage?  Here are the slides from my recent webinar for the International Association of Women, we discussed Asking Outrageously and the different DEAL styles.  

Ask Outrageously Webinar for IAW 
Listen for a description of the DEAL styles beginning at 34:02. 
Note: We do not provide your email or information to others. If you wish to watch the webinar, you will have to first sign into IAW’s portal. 

How Do You Prefer to DEAL?

Most people relate to one or two of the DEAL styles. Do you prefer to:


Deciders are serious and effective. They are action-oriented. They seek authority, drive conversations, and like to make decisions. They are focused on the big picture and want to quickly determine the bottom line. Deciders like questions that challenge them and like to make decisions from a few choices.

Smart Asks if you are a Decider: People with different DEAL preferences may need you to explain more details or relate how your request will affect others. When negotiating, don’t assume everyone likes to debate. Instead, slow down your pace by asking additional questions in order to build a better relationship.


Engagers are outgoing and connect well with people. Fun and relationship driven, they empower others. Engagers want to inspire and encourage as well as connect. They are often the life of the party or the most exciting person in the room.

Smart Asks for Engagers: People with different DEAL preferences may need more explanation or details that support your request. Allow for silence as Accommodators and Leveragers absorb any new information. Or, if they are Deciders, take a more direct and serious approach. Deciders will want you to quickly get to the bottom line without the entertaining stories and anecdotes.


Accommodators are usually pleasant, approachable, and agreeable. They like when a request benefits others and if the requester is respectful and considerate. 

Smart Asks if you are an Accommodator: People with different DEAL preferences may need you to ask for what you really want. They will appreciate your candor. Those who are more serious or direct may lose patience or have difficulty with your attempts to connect or form a relationship. Time and facts are important to them as they negotiate. Don’t waste your time guessing their needs, ask them.


Leveragers are good with systems and processes, and they like to learn. They like requests based on facts and supported by research. They are interested in whether a solution can be leveraged to improve efficiency and accuracy. 

Smart Asks if you are a Leverager: People may not want your detailed and precise language. In addition to providing data, Engagers and Accommodators may want you to speak about how people will be affected and engaged. Deciders may wantyou to indicate the bottom line or make faster requests. Before providing additional information or overloading others with unnecessary details, ask people  what information is needed to aid them in making their decision. 

Note: There are many assessments with different names for similar traits. This chart translates the DEAL styles into more familiar assessment styles.

After reading the DEAL descriptions if you are still unsure of 

your DEAL style, confirm it by taking this free assessment.

What’s My DEAL Style  

(Use the Code: “eTips”)

How Did We DEAL with Our Marital “Differences”?

The premarital counselor predicted our extreme differences would either drive us to a quick divorce or keep us interested and married for a lifetime. If we wanted our marriage to last, he said, “View your relationship as if you were dating.” His rationale was that we would never reliably predict the other’s feelings or thoughts. Instead, we should “stay curious and discover new information by continuing to ask each other questions.” We needed to “remain receptive to the answers.” 

Ask questions and respectfully listen. Good advice for any negotiation or relationship. Know what? Our marriage has it challenges but our differences have made all the difference. Are you ready for this month’s challenge?

This month negotiate considering your DEAL style and others’ styles. Any great results are yours to have and to hold.

P.S. When I help leaders with their DEAL styles, they often share that knowing their traits helps improve their professional and personal relationships. Please ask about my speaking at your conference, workshop, or event!