Cultural and national negotiation styles reflect communication behaviors and the priorities of that culture. Priorities such as trust, teamwork, non-confrontational situations, and openness are all along a sliding scale with each culture. The communication behaviors of each culture reflect these priorities and can dictate how a culture will engage in negotiations. Often, Japanese and other Asian negotiators will plan a social event and dinner before any real negotiations occur. Likewise, Americans place an emphasis on taking clients out to dinner and a round of golf. Engaging in this type of activity builds trust and opens the line of communication between the two parties. Using persuasive techniques to “connect” with another person can lead to trust and the sense of a relationship being built. The negotiation styles of these two cultures mesh well, thus allowing them to understand the priorities of each other’s culture.
Once a relationship has been built on trust, the negotiators can begin sharing information. This level of openness is highly dependent on the level of openness for that country. This stage in negotiations require each party to fulfill their end of reciprocation – which can sometimes make one party feel like they are being confronted – but if done correctly can develop “quick trust” (Brett, 207). Quick Trust develops when two groups share information and allow the other party to see their weak side. Obviously developing trust is important, however some cultures simply may not be comfortable with divulging information quickly.
Getting Down to business: Using Culture to Persuade
Arguably one of the most important factors in negotiation is an understating of the culture in which you are engaging in negotiations. Cultures vary in their openness and in the time that business in conducted. Terms of agreements should be taken into consideration; for example, Italy has a 90-day billing cycle versus the “normal” USA 30-billing cycle. These cultural norms are very important for understanding how to succeed in negotiating on a global scale. Building relationships is the key for building trust among partners or potential clients. Trust can become an all encompassing factor when it comes time to make a final decision, the understanding of what is expected and following through will allow negotiations to flow smoothly.