How to communicate across the Globe for effective negotiations


In this day and age of global economy, procurement is interacting with vendors from different countries and cultures. Given that procurement is always at the forefront of negotiating price and terms, it is critical to understand the cultural differences and more important how to overcome the cultural barriers and communicate effectively

British Linguist Richard D Lewis  studies and charted the communication patterns across different cultures in his book “When cultures Collide”. Some of the observations made by him are as follows

  • Canadians, compared to Americans, tend to be more low-key and inclined to seek harmony, though they are similarly direct.

  • English tend to avoid confrontation in an understated, mannered, and humorous style that can be powerful or inefficient.

  • Germans rely on logic but "tend to amass more evidence “

  • Spanish and Italians "regard their languages as instruments of eloquence and they will go up and down the scale at will, pulling out every stop if need be to achieve greater expressiveness."

  • The Nordic countries often have entrenched opinions that they have formulated "in the long dark nights," though they are reasonable conversationalists. Swedes often have the most wide-ranging discussions, Finns tend to value concision, and most Norwegians fall somewhere in between.

  • Swiss tend to be straightforward and unaggressive negotiators, who obtain concessions by expressing confidence in the quality and value of their goods and services.

  • Hungarians value eloquence over logic and are unafraid to talk over each other.

  • Bulgarians may take a circuitous approach to negotiations before seeking a mutually beneficial resolution, which will often be screwed up by bureaucracy.

  • Poles often have a communication style that is "enigmatic, ranging from a matter-of-fact pragmatic style to a wordy, sentimental, romantic approach to any given subject."

  • The Dutch are focused on facts and figures but "are also great talkers and rarely make final decisions without a long 'Dutch' debate, sometimes approaching the danger zone of overanalysis."

  • Chinese tend to be more direct than the Japanese and some other East Asians; however, meetings are principally for information gathering, with the real decisions made elsewhere. Hong Kongers negotiate much more briskly to achieve quick results.

  • Indian English "excels in ambiguity, and such things as truth and appearances are often subject to negotiation."

  • Australians tend to have a loose and frank conversational style.

  • Singaporeans generally take time to build a relationship, after which they can be shrewd negotiators.

  • Koreans tend to be energetic conversationalists who seek to close deals quickly, occasionally stretching the truth.

  • Indonesians tend to be very deferential conversationalists, sometimes to the point of ambiguity.

  • Israelis tend to proceed logically on most issues but emotionally on some.

You can read the full analysis by following the link below

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