In international negotiations, rela- tionships are often as important as achieving your goals. The ability to
understand the other side — their perspective, culture, cognitive processes,
and constraints — is therefore critical
to reach integrative solutions perceived
as favorable by both parties.
A basic fact about negotiation is that
you are dealing with human beings with
emotions, different values, distinctive
experiences, and individual
points of view. They can also
fail to correctly interpret
what you intend to communicate. In short, they are
irrational. Be equipped to
deal with the other side’s
Every individual is the
product of a combination of
three elements that affect
their behavior and cognitive
1 CULTURE The invisible lens that
filters how the person sees the world;
the collective programming of the
mind that distinguishes the members
of one group from members of another.
Culture does not involve only national
culture, but also other cultural influences such as gender, education, age,
profession, social class, and access
2 SOCIAL CONTEXT The immediate environment in which the person
grew up (i.e., family and friends) and
employs his or her skills (organization
s/he works for).
3 PERSONALITY A person’s combined
behavioral, emotional, and mental
You should put yourself in the other
side’s shoes to understand their values,
norms, and biases. In an international
context, it is particularly important to
pay attention to social psychological
measures, because negotiators judge
the negotiation process according to
their feelings about:
› the objective outcome of
› the self (e.g., saving face
and living according to one’s
own values and standards)
› the fairness of the negotiation process
› their relationship with the
Your goal at the negotia-
tion table is not to under-
stand the what but rather
the why. Shifting your focus from what
the other party does and says to what
the other party thinks is fundamental.
Never accept the other side’s replies at
face value; filter and calibrate the information that is provided to you.
If you understand why certain
behaviors occur, you can better communicate with the other side and
unlock the potential of a mutually
beneficial agreement. .
Research supports the notion
that most communication tends
to be indirect. According to the
politeness theory, even in low-context cultures in which people
tend to say what they mean,
communication is negotiated.
The reason for the prevalence of
indirect communication is the
individual’s need to preserve his
or her public image, referred to
as face. In some cultures, losing
face is a humiliation; in others, it
can be considered a simple, even
if displeasing, setback.
This is the reason for communication indirectness: People allude
to what they would like to say,
try to understand how the other
person would receive it, and are
ready to accommodate what
they might have meant to avoid
ON THE WEB
Learn more about Yadvinder S.
Rana and The 4Ps Framework at
This Meeting Management: Global
article is supported by BestCities
Global Alliance, bestcities.net.
People are complex, multifaceted, impulsive, and erratic. That’s
true regardless of where in the world your business partners are
from — and where on the map you’re planning an event.
Yadvinder S. Rana is a professor at Catholic
University in Milan, Italy; founder of Neglob,
an international negotiations consultancy
firm; and author of The 4Ps Framework:
Advanced Negotiation and Influence
Strategies for Global Effectiveness.
MEETING MANAGEMENT: GLOBAL
Yadvinder S. Rana
Yadvinder S. Rana