Written by Eric Meyer, for the Harvard Business Review, this article provides a fun and informative way to explaining the different negotiating approaches, and communication styles, with people from all over the world.
He divides the article into 5 main points, as follows:
1. Adapt the Way You Express Disagreement
“Open disagreement may be seen as positive if it’s expressed calmly and factually.”
2. Know When to Bottle It Up or Let It All Pour Out
“In some cultures it’s common—and entirely appropriate—during negotiations to raise your voice when excited, laugh passionately, touch your counterpart on the arm, or even put a friendly arm around him. In other cultures such self-expression not only feels intrusive or surprising but may even demonstrate a lack of professionalism.”
3. Learn How the Other Culture Builds Trust
“So in certain cultures you need to build an affective bond or emotional connection as early as possible. Invest time in meals and drinks (or tea, karaoke, golf, whatever it may be), and don’t talk about the deal during these activities. Let your guard down and show your human side, including your weaknesses. Demonstrate genuine interest in the other party and make a friend. Be patient: In China, for example, this type of bond may take a long time to build. Eventually, you won’t have just a friend; you’ll have a deal.”
4. Avoid Yes-or-No Questions
“When you need to know whether your counterpart is willing to do something, but his answer to every question leaves you more confused than before, remember the fourth rule of cross-cultural negotiations: If possible, avoid posing a yes-or-no question. Rather than “Will you do this?” try “How long would it take you to get this done?” And when you do ask a yes-or-no question in Southeast Asia, Japan, or Korea (perhaps also in India or Latin America), engage all your senses and emotional antennae. Even if the response is affirmative, something may feel like no: an extra beat of silence, a strong sucking in of the breath, a muttered “I will try, but it will be difficult.” If so, the deal is probably not sealed. You may well have more negotiations in front of you.”
5. Be Careful About Putting It in Writing
“In emerging markets, everything is dynamic; no deal is ever really 100% final.”
To read the entire article, click here.
*Don’t forget to watch the short video included in the article.