In this article, I will talk about how to negotiate people in different cultures and nations.

We all agree that successful negotiation skill is one of the most important things a businessperson should have.

When starting a new business in another country/continent or just planning make successful negotiations it’s important to keep in mind that every nation has its own unique culture and standards that you have to follow.

Negotiations on a comprehensive sense cover all sorts of:

  • meeting
  • communication
  • discussion
  • exchanging of opinions
  • reaching an agreement
  • formal negotiations

Why does culture matter when negotiating?

As I have already mentioned, each culture has its own standards and one behavior that has a specific meaning. In a certain culture, any behavior could be understood differently.

In order to understand the significance of culture in negotiations, we have to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of different cultures and countries.

Also, we have to assume other nation’s potential actions in the negotiation process and to surmise the cultural circumstances that might affect their decision-making.

Different cultures also have different focus marks that represent the areas of activity. Since cultural diversities often lead to behavioral ones, it’s very hard for people of different cultural backgrounds to cooperate with each other.

Some people may choose a more straight or simple way of communication, whereas others may prefer a method that is more complicated or compound.

Factors that influence negotiation across different cultures

how to negotiate across different cultures and nations

Choosing negotiator

The pattern for picking negotiators may include credential, connection, sex, age, knowledge, and social status. Different societies place different levels of load on these principles. Therefore, different outlooks exist for negotiators who take part in different sorts of negotiations.


Whether it is verbal or textual expression, cultures shape communicative actions. In order to bypass irritating the opponent in multicultural negotiation, every negotiator should be mainly informed about opponent’s sole communicative behaviors or attitudes.

Group and Individual

Cultural differences determine how much substance is placed on individualism or socialism. Highlighting individuality, Americans admire liberation, courage, and uniqueness.

In an individualistic nation, a person is often bound for the last decision, whereas the people in collectivistic ones think that the group appears before an individual, and personal needs are trivial.

The concluding decision in a negotiation is usually attained through group discussions, and the duties are classified since a group of people all participated in the deliberations and decision-making.

Rituals of negotiation

Cultural differentiation among negotiators leads to meaningfully diverse rituals. For example, People from America have a reputation for not paying huge attention to other people’s gender or job position.

Europeans, on the other hand, tend to be more formal in this subject. Disparting of the indications of two negotiators is observed as a sign of rudeness.

Furthermore, in some Asian nations such as Korea or Japan, business cards are officially used when two multitudes introduce themselves to each other.

A negotiator who neglects to carry his/her business cards or letters on the other person’s business card is considered as intentionally disregarding the other person.

Risk tendency

Cultural differences also often define negotiators’ enthusiasm to take on risks. The bureaucratic practices of some cultures prefer to make decisions when adequate information is accessible.

The Japanese system in negotiating is to decrease the risk as much as feasible and avoid face-to-face disputes. And one reason behind this is to avoid being taken individually responsible for the outcomes of a decision.

Therefore, Japanese employees rarely make decisions on their own so as to evade being accused of making an incorrect decision.

For cultures that are more entrepreneurial, such as the United States, practicality, and productivity are admired; therefore, people in such societies are willing to make choices even though they have not yet fully received enough information.


The definition of time varies with cultures. Nations that admire traditions, primarily ones resided in a warmer climate, tend to have a slower pace of life. People in these nations do not center on time, and still, if they do, it would only be for a short period of time.

People from the US are frequently recognized as slaves to time because they value time and see it as an indefinite resource.

However, people in Asia and Latin America, do not share the same view. They suppose the focus of a negotiation is the negotiation itself, despite how much time it demands.

Most of the European and North American cultures relate to the category of linear-divisible time, in which time is recognized as a continuous line that is consisted of the past, present, and future. Accordingly, time is precious, and the time spent in the past provides towards the future.

In the category of orbicular-traditional time, time is circular, and the future can not be switched. The future is also a replay of the past, this time has no value and planning is not required.

How to negotiate in different countries

negotiation in different countries

As I have mentioned earlier, every nation has its own habits and standards when communicating with each other. There’s even an old proverb: “wherever you go, you should take on the hat of that place”. This means every country you visit, you should fit the traditions and culture of that country, not the way around.

Here I present what to keep in mind and generally how to handle negotiations in 3 main countries of the world.


In order to work with the Chinese, trust is the most primary factor. They consider that a long-term business relationship cannot be built without trust.

In numerous Asian cultures, individuals are taught to minimize emotional outbreaks and try to calm at all times.

You should accordingly minimize your own emotional pretensions and also watch for complex shifts in body languages like facial expressions, hand position, or any action that does not project calm.

Harmony and fight avoidance is extremely valued in Asian cultures, meaning that Asian entrepreneurs are not likely to say ‘no’ downright if they disagree with you.

Instead, they’re more likely to shift the subject or ask pointless questions. That kind of action might intimate that they are not prepared to accept your offer, and you need to renegotiate.


When trying to negotiate with Russians, be clear and precise in your communications. Don’t try to be complex and make “suggestions,” believing that Russians will “take the hint.” Give brief directions. Russians admire people with authority, so be one.

If the requirement is the mother of invention, Russians are very creative. Historically faced with deficits of funds and supplies, they have mastered how to improvise.

Do not be shocked to find creative solutions to every type of obstacle wherever you look. Very little is done in Russia without using blat – which is Russian for “connections” or “power.” Blat involves an interchange of favors; when you do something for someone, they now owe you a service.


In the USA, no one needs to know you, trust you, or even see you do business with you. Purchases for everything from CDs to cars to large-scale software systems are usually made remotely.

Never undervalue the speed at which business can be done in the United States. When customers visit with you in person, buying decisions are often performed in one visit. The culture of this country is youth-oriented.

You might expect Americans to dress more formally for negotiation but they most likely won’t. In the field of “casual Fridays” formality is not as much of superiority as it is in other nations. So don’t take it as disrespectful action if they are dressed casually.

In the U.S., direct eye contact means you are reliable, self-sufficient and in control. If you have a very distinct idea of what eye contact means, you should know that this could create difficulty in your negotiation with Americans.

That’s all folks. Tips and recommendations on how to negotiate in different cultures and nations.

I hope you enjoyed the article; if so, share it with your friends and also let me know in the comments what you think about this topic.

Leave a Comment