Business Negotiation (Alcohol)

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In many cultures, alcohol is used as a tool to facilitate the negotiation. However, this concept varies from countries to countries. In the U.S. and Europe countries, alcohol is often used as an important way. This is same in China and Russia, but both countries have different drinking style. They often toast constantly, and refusing this toast would be rude, so you have to add reason when you want to stop drinking. On the other hand, in some particular countries, especially in Islamic countries, people do not usually drink in negotiating situation. This is because they adhere to strict abstinence, so to suggest them to drink might offend them.

In negotiating situation, drinking alcohol is said to be one of the most important and common way to promote the honest negotiation. The reason is not only its atmosphere to let people open-minded, but also drinking with your client itself makes their friendship closer. As I wrote before, this concept is really common in the U.S., Europe, Russia and China. This is similar to Japanese way. We often go drinking with our clients or customers. The one point you should consider when drinking with Japanese clients is that you should not talk about business deeply and seriously. The reason is that many people think it is ridiculous and not productive to make an important decision when you are drinking. Therefore, you should think this negotiation as a place to know each other deeply and to make a relationship to get along with each other well.

If I face this situation, I would do Japanese way with consideration of the partner’s way. However, I should not stick to Japanese style all the time, because my partners would also consider this situation. It depends on the situation (where, who, what kind of restaurants or bars), but in general, I would do along Japanese style, and see how it is going. It is much more difficult when I face the situation with more than 2 people from other countries. I would prefer Japanese way,...
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