I'm not at home in this culture
To negotiate with an opponent on his home ground in another culture can be a
great experience, if you approach it right.
Three tips:
  • In communication, try always to be clear and specific, using concrete
    examples, and repetition of your key points. The nuances and unspoken
    signals which help you to communicate with somebody from your own
    culture will certainly be different in your opponent's culture, so confusion
    and anxiety are very likely. Avoid this by patient "low context" explanation
    of each point. (If you are from a "high context" culture, where subtle hints
    and allusions are normal, this will feel very strange.)
  • Reset your expectations and perhaps your behaviour regarding time. In
    Turkey, timetables and agendas are perhaps guidelines; in Sweden, the
    project plan is very real - deviate from it at your peril!
  • Prepare yourself with a little research with colleagues, in books and
    magazines, on the web. Aim to understand a bit more each day, to enrich
    your "model" of the culture and the formative background of your
    opponent: I wonder why they do that?...Does that enable me to predict
    what might happen next time?… What does that mean about the way I
    come across to them?…What sort of books and comics did my opponent
    read as a child?…What is his attitude to company loyalty?
Click around the other advice sections for more tabloid tips, or
go to Books or contact us for a fuller treatment.
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