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How to negotiate across cultures

In business, good negotiation skills can give you an advantage over your competition, your suppliers, and of course even your customers. However, as confident as you may feel about your own negotiation skills, it is important to remember that negotiating across different cultures brings with it its own set of challenges and opportunities.

Author Jeswalde W. Salacuse has written an article for the Ivey Business Journal entitled "Negotiating: The top ten ways that culture can affect your negotiation." In it, Salacuse rightly suggests how negotiators from differing backgrounds may each interpret the negotiation process in different ways, and as a result, each participant may want to conduct things that may confuse or perhaps unwillingly even offend the other party.

The author offers some tips on which approach to take with respect to communication style and level of formality to apply. Some tips the author provides for cross-cultural negotiators are:
  • Not to rush the negotiating process;
  • Laying out the rules and negotiating framework before-hand so as to make the other side feel more at ease;
  • Being open to share information;
  • Building a foundation of trust and partnership; and,
  • Moving the deal forward in an incremental, step-by-step way, rather than all at once.
Read the full article in PDF form, here.

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