2. Know Who You're Talking To
Buchner-Howard outlined how people from different countries tend to fall into a spectrum of behavioral tendencies. While there will still be challenges, knowing the mindset of the person you’re negotiating with will help you keep things in perspective.
Countries: Germany, Switzerland, the U.K., the U.S., and Sweden.
Tendencies: fast, efficient, and bottom-line and facts-and-figures–oriented
and negotiations attitude: “Truth before diplomacy”
Countries: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Hispanic America, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Sub-Saharan Africa
Tendencies: A “no problem, it’ll happen soon, don’t worry about it” attitude and a lot of verbal and non-verbal communication. “Everything I do in Italy, whether contract negotiations or meetings-related, is, ‘Non che problemi.’ There are no problems—except that what you want doesn’t get done when you need it done,” said Buchner-Howard.
Contract and negotiations attitude: “Feelings before facts—truth is flexible.”
Countries: Japan, Vietnam, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Korea, and Thailand.
Tendencies: Keep emotions under wraps, listen more than talk, and be very non-confrontational. She said to expect a lot of difficulty in getting tasks accomplished quickly because there tends to be a lot of bureaucracy and coordination involved.
Contract and negotiations attitude: “Diplomacy over truth”
Helpful hint: Know the general tendencies, but don’t assume that all Germans will have rigid mindsets and like lederhosen, she said. Individuals, of course, may vary from the cultural norm.