Cross cultural negotiations can be disastrous if the individuals involved are not aware of the nuances involved. Negotiations are difficult because they involve people, not only with their stated negotiation goals, but also their fears, their priorities, their undeclared agendas, their real decision making power, their personality, their conflict style, their prejudices. Cross cultural negotiations add an entire new dimension to negotiations as they also involve body language differences, language nuances, cultural comfort or discomfort with open discussion and disagreement, expectations of how the process or end result should look like.
Dealing with a cross border negotiation entails all these aspects, other than the need to acquire information and understanding about the technical aspects of the deal.
Understanding the overall cultural background of a cross border business party is of course very important, but understanding another culture takes time and it is not always possible to fully do so when being part of a negotiation table. Taking the time to understand who the other party is, what is their idea of how the process of negotiation should look like, noticing how they express disagreements, how comfortable they are with the discussion, what issues they keep drawing attention to may help understand their real fears, address them and build trust.
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