UGM Consulting's cultural expert, Dr Margaret Byrne, will present a short workshop on 'Negotating with Chinese: Skills for the Asian Century' in London on 27 July 2015, hosted by Women on Boards. Click here for more details and registration options.
The Chinese are widely recognised as shrewd negotiators. Historically, the country’s unique positon meant that Chinese prized the ability to drive a hard bargain. These days, with its economic and strategic rise on the world stage, an increasingly assertive China finds itself able to choose with whom it wishes to deal and under what conditions.
On the one hand, Chinese negotiating style is characterised by a patient focus on building harmony and mutual understanding. But there are some ways in which Chinese ideas about ‘fairness’ in negotiation can differ from common Western approaches. For instance, Chinese negotiators have a rich repertoire of strategies based on classical war tactics. This is about ‘subduing the enemy without fighting’ by exploiting one’s own strengths and the other party’s weaknesses. Chinese typically design a shrewd strategic plan they’ll follow when negotiating with you. You’ll learn some useful frameworks to help you navigate Chinese negotiation style and manage the stratagems that may be employed against you.
We will also look at the common structure of Chinese negotiations and see how the same elements can carry different weightings from those often found in Western settings. For instance, for Chinese the pre and post negotiation phases can be of vital, ‘make or break’, importance. In contrast, for many Westerners the central, formal, deal making phase is often where most emphasis is placed.
Successful negotiators work hard to build trust and rapport with their Chinese counterparts but they also stay firmly grounded in the Western need for clear agreements and stable contracts. In keeping with Chinese traditional thinking, this is about locating a constructive Middle Way between East and West.
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