Book Review: Kiss, Bow, or Shake Hands {How To Do Business In Sixty Countries} – Business Entertainment

Kiss, Bow, Or Shake Hands:
How To Do Business In Sixty CountriesBy Terri Morrison, Wayne A. Conaway, George A. Borden, and Hans Koehlero While in Germany, on business, you meet with your local counterpart. Between your broken German and his
textbook English you are able to carry on a fairly well understood conversation. You reach a lull in your talk
and to keep the conversation going you ask your friend about his spouse and children. Suddenly, he grows very quiet and a look of anger sweeps across his face. You ask yourself, “Did I mispronounce something? Did I say something wrong?”o In Ecuador, you engage a street vendor in a lively negotiation for one of the Indian artifacts that he is selling. You grow increasingly uncomfortable as you realize that not even a foot separates you from him; you take that to mean he is interested in you personally. Whenever you took a step backward, he takes one step towards you to close the gap. Alarmed, you break off the conversation suddenly and head back to your hotel hoping that the merchant is not following after you.o On the streets of Copenhagen, you wait for traffic to thin out so that you may cross the road. A driver slows down and signals for you to proceed. You smile and flash an okay gesture (thumb and forefinger forming a circle) at her and then are surprised by the glaring look of disgust from her.Each of the above examples shows cultural differences that can occur when traveling outside the United States. “Kiss, Bow, or Shake Hands: How to Do Business in Sixty Countries,” is a helpful reference for travelers. From Argentina to Greece to Japan, the authors present a work that is both serious and funny, practical and helpful, to assist business travelers as they navigate the cultural maze in the land(s) they are visiting.The book is a helpful tool that will enhance the globetrotter in brushing up on what to expect before his/her trip abroad. Each featured country has its own chapter and contains the following information:o Country Background — History, Type of Government, Language, Religion, and Demographics.o Cultural Orientation — Particular Value Systems and Negotiation Strategies.o Business Practices — Appointments (When to be punctual and when to be purposely late), Negotiating, and Business Entertainment.Interspersed throughout are cultural notes that are meant to inform travelers how to present their best foot forward and avoid mistakes like those listed earlier. Now, let’s take a look at the examples mentioned earlier and see what went wrong:o For Germans, family life and business life are kept separate. Germans will find a way to work family into their conversation if they want to share that information with you (see page 131).o Ecuadorians, like many South Americans, traditionally stand close to one another when conversing. If you move back, they often will close the gap to maintain their close proximity. In the U.S., we are accustomed to at least a two foot gap between people and consider anything closer as threatening (see page 92).o Danes, as well as many cultures around the world, take the American “o.k.” gesture to be an obscene or insulting response. Be careful what hand gestures you use abroad — you may get a very unwelcome response (see page 87).Kiss, Bow, or Shake Hands is published by Adams Media Corporation, 1994, Holbrook, Mass.

Doing Business in China – Successful Negotiations – Business Entertainment

1. The Chinese negotiating team tends to concentrate on developing a friendship with the member in your group who is most sympathetic to them. Later, they will pursue all their objectives through that individual, playing on the feelings of friendship, obligation and guilt.2. Enter negotiations armed with technical information and records of any previous meetings. Any oversight on your part will be noticed and used against you.3. You should have a clear sense of your objective and bottom line. Attempting to discuss your cooperation in “general principles” may give them an impression that you are not ready and your intentions are not serious.4. During the opening stages of negotiations, the Chinese will try to get your general commitment in their favor. They will not proceed further until they know your position and attempting to push them forward is usually fruitless.5. Long term commitment for cooperation will significantly increase your chances for success. The Chinese will be more eager to compromise on specifics if they get a broader perspective of cooperation from you.6. Leave yourself extra room to negotiate. Chinese are known for their soft sell and hard buy. Substantial concessions are expected.7. Try not to ask direct questions. Remember that your counterpart most probably is not the decision maker. Be sensitive while disagreeing so as not to cause hurt feelings.8. An agreement for the Chinese does not mean the end of negotiations. They will not hesitate to open the discussion of some issues you thought had been resolved.9. It is best not to emulate the Chinese style of negotiating. It is easy to be trapped by an illusion that you understand them and their culture. Keeping to your own style usually brings better results and appreciation.10. Negotiations often involve more than task management issues. Developing the personal relationship is achieved through business entertainment. The dinners, the trip to the Great Wall, and so on are all part of developing the relationship.