Negotiation Across Cultures

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How do negotiation styles differ across cultures?

Learn about the culture, values, beliefs, etiquette and approaches to business, meetings, and negotiations. Nine times out of ten, the latter will succeed over the rival. This is because 1) it is likely they would have endeared themselves more to the host negotiation team, and 2) they would be able to tailor their approach to the negotiations in a way that maximizes the potential of a positive outcome.

Cross-cultural negotiation is about more than just how foreigners close deals. It involves looking at all factors that can influence the proceedings. Here are a few brief examples of topics covered in cross-cultural negotiation training.

Eye Contact : In the US, UK, and much of Northern Europe, strong, direct eye contact conveys confidence and sincerity. In South America, it is a sign of trustworthiness. However, in some cultures such as the Japanese, prolonged eye contact is considered rude and is generally avoided.

Personal Space & Touch: In Europe and North America, business people will usually leave a certain amount of distance between themselves when interacting. Touching only takes place between friends. In South America or the Middle East, business people are tactile and like to get up close. In Japan or China, it is common for people to leave a gap of four feet when conversing. Touching only takes place between close friends and family members.

Time: Western societies are very ‘clock conscious’. Time is money and punctuality is crucial. This is also the case in countries such as Japan or China, where being late would be taken as an insult. However, in South America, southern Europe, and the Middle East, being on time for a meeting does not carry the same sense of urgency.

Meeting & Greeting: most international business people meet with a handshake. In some countries, this is not appropriate between genders. Some may view a loose handshake as sign of weakness, whereas others would perceive...
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