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Guide to Cross Cultural Negotiation


You might assume that negotiation principles are drastically different depending on your culture, but this is not true. In fact, there are about 6 principles of negotiation that are similar all around the world. Since all of these principles of negotiation exist in all cultures, you can put a negotiation strategy in pace that can be effective no matter where or with whom you are negotiating.

Know the Terminology and Stages of Negotiation

In order to have success, you have to know what type of negotiation you are getting into. Here are the common 6 types:

This type of negotiation involves trading something for what you want. You must have something meaningful to swap in order to make a bartering deal possible.

This type of negotiation comes down to numbers and involves bidding for what you want. There might be some haggling involved in order to secure this type of negotiation deal.

Hard Bargain
This type of negotiation often involves stalemates, but driving a hard bargain is possible if you are coming from a place of power in the deal.

These types of negotiations are best, because they are the simplest. Both parties get what they want and can use what the other party has to offer. Everyone wins out and is satisfied with the outcome.

Concession Trading
To make this type of negotiation possible, everyone involved must be willing to lose something in the deal.

Relationship Building
This is the ideal type of negotiation and can lead to a partnership that lasts and is beneficial for both parties involved.

Understanding Culture

No matter what culture you are engaged with in a negotiation, you must be looking to recognize behavior. Not all gestures carry the same meaning in every culture, so you must always be perceptive and look for telltale signs. For example, a thumbs up might seem like a positive gesture, but in Greece it is the equivalent to the middle finger. This means that you should keep your eyes peeled for other clues and not rely solely on gestures for giveaways.

How To Keep The Power

Negotiations in every culture often boil down to who is in control and who has the upper hand. You have to be willing to compromise a bit and use strategies that effectively protect you without exploiting the other parties involved in the negotiation.

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