Intercultural Communication Education
Negotiations Across Cultures
Negotiations, whether they happen locally or internationally are the search for a compromise. This means that at the end of the negotiation process, each party will believe that they won. Understanding cultural differences will help build a better business relationship.
“A compromise is the art of dividing the cake in such a way that everyone believes that they have the biggest piece,” German politician Ludwig Erhard, once said. It is not easy to reach this goal when both sides share a common culture. It is even more difficult to reach compromise across borders when not only language, but also cultural differences can impede communication and understanding.
How do we prepare you to negotiate globally? We help you:
1. Understand the values system of the culture you are planning to negotiate with.
2. Prepare your documentations -letters and emails- in the correct order. It is possible that a secretary or an associate wrote all the letters you may have received.
3. Recognize slang and idioms in the languages or cultures of your partner.
4. Keep the language as simple as you can, even if your counterpart appears to have a good command of the English language. Avoid confusing expressions such as, “I have put all my cards on the table” or “The ball is in your court” or” The bottom line is…”
5. Learn your counterpart names and how to pronounce them
6. Share personal disclosure naturally as the relationship evolves naturally but not too fast and too soon.
7. Be very careful with nonverbal signals, because signals are sometimes ambiguous and not repetitive. Context also affects meaning.
8. Avoid whispering to your partner or speak in a language that your counterpart does not understand.
9. The last advice I want to give small business that are getting ready for negotiations across borders is to use the services of a cross-cultural consultant or negotiator. If for some reasons the company cannot have a consultant at the negotiation table, it must at the minimum consult with a consultant on issues related to the cultures on the other side.
Lean more Succeed in Doing Business in Africa!