how to overcome intercultural barriers
Why you should consider these three tips for avoiding intercultural barriers when preparing for negotiation between two parties from different cultures: You are well prepared, both sides speak English fluently and you have best of intentions? Great! But watch out: Although everything theoretically should work well, business negotiators from different cultures face additional special challenges.

1. Research your counterpart’s background and experience.
For help in overcoming barriers in cross-cultural business negotiations, do a little homework to find out who your negotiation partners will be and explore some details about their background and international experience. If your counterparts have only no or only little of international negotiating experience, you might assume that cultural stereotyping is likely to create communication difficulties. If you have trouble getting information about your negotiating partner, ask an agent with contacts at that company or organization to make inquiries for you. Be sure your contact persons understand that they are not authorized to make any commitments on your behalf.

2. Enlist a consultant from your counterpart’s culture.
If you discover that the company with whom you are likely to be negotiating has little international experience, consider recruiting someone from their culture to serve as your seconder in negotiations. Rather than shifting the talks to this adviser during the negotiation, plan out small secret signals in advance to indicate when you should take a break for additional advice. In this manner, your cultural guide can help you assess the situation, coach you as needed, and even take over if he feels you have made a tremendous error or misinterpretation.
C-TO:BE has the following specialists…
Intercultural Communication. Germany: Andrea von Gleichenstein
Intercultural Communication. China: Xiang Hong Liu
Intercultural Communication. India: Martina Maciejewski
Intercultural Communication. USA: Farid Thomas Arbabi
Feel free to contact us for support at any time.

3. Pay close attention to outspreading negotiation dynamics.
Be attentive. Always listen carefully during talks. If you’re not satisfied or irritated with the answers you receive, reframe your questions and ask again. If you’re not sure about what the other side exactly means, rephrase what you think you have understood.  It’s correct to assume that people living and working in different cultural settings often view or interpret the same events differently. On the other side in our era of globalization, it’s also true that we have much more in common on the person-to-person level than you might expect. Listen to your intuition and mind your manners. Always stay appreciating and polite.

Conclusion: Start to ask early for support to interact professionally wit international negotiation partners.

Most business professionals recognize that they need technical or legal expertise to proceed with a deal-making negotiation. Similarly, cross-cultural negotiators should realize that they might well need help for avoiding intercultural barriers, such as analyzing the situation in advance or interpreting the signals and norms that could make or break a negotiation in a cross-cultural context.


Source: https://www.pon.harvard.edu/


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