Tips for Negotiating with Conflict Avoiders

By Marty Latz, Latz Negotiation Institute

In several of our last posts, we discussed Tips for Negotiating with Accommodative Counterparts and Tips for Negotiating with Competitive Counterparts. To bring this series to a conclusion, here are three negotiation strategies to consider when your counterpart is a Conflict Avoider, e.g., they have a strong need and go to great lengths to avoid conflict, are extremely uncomfortable with emotional conflict and are skilled at avoiding answering questions and addressing unpleasant issues.

1.  Be patient

When negotiating with conflict avoiders, it can take a great deal of time and effort to fully explore conflict-related issues. While it can be frustrating trying to pin them down, conflict avoiders often excel at finding creative ways to satisfy interests without open conflict.

2.  Focus on your long-term goal

It’s easy to get off track when your counterpart can skillfully avoid dealing with difficult issues. As a result, you must keep a laser-like focus on your goals. And persevere. Sometimes anticipated contentious issues will resolve themselves with the passage of time.

3.  Aggressively explore their interests.

Finally, aggressively seek out their real interests. Find out what they need and want, keeping in mind they may try to hide these if they believe discussing them will lead to conflict. Your likelihood of success will increase the more you find out about what they truly want.


Marty Latz is the founder of Latz Negotiation Institute, a national negotiation training and consulting company, and ExpertNegotiator, a Web-based software company that helps managers and negotiators more effectively negotiate and implement best practices based on the experts’ proven research.  He is also the author of Gain the Edge! Negotiating to Get What You Want (St. Martin’s Press 2004). He can be reached at 480-951-3222 or

ICLEF • Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, Indianapolis, IN

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