These days the business world is becoming extremely intertwined as people from different cultures and nations begin to work together. However, at times there is likely to be some conflict and misunderstanding because of our up-bringing and the culture we were brought-up in.

Here are some tips that will assist you when you are dealing in business negotiations in different cultures.

Understand the Culture:

The key is to understand one’s culture so that you are not shocked or at best “lost” which could cost you dearly in business dealings. It is impossible to know everything about every other culture, but at least get to know as much as you can. (Use the internet)

Sometime ago, I watched an unflattering incident in one of the prominent Canadian banks. A well-dressed businessman from a visible minority background came in to do banking. A young female employee was offering candy to customers as they walked in, a goodwill gesture.

She said to this customer, “Just take one” in a jokingly manner. The customer became upset and said loudly to her, “I don’t want any of your candies” and walked out! 

From his perspective, he was labelled as a beggar. I am sure he would never return to that branch or may even take his business to a different bank. The employee was startled and not sure what just happened.

Avoid Stereotypes:

Our views about certain people and cultures are often derived from Hollywood movies, family, and friends and even at times from our own experiences.

Ask yourself, where did you get these beliefs?

Chances are they are probably wrong. If unchecked, such beliefs could cost you significantly not only in a business setting, but also in personal relationships.

Cultures Vary:

Keep in mind that just because a person was born in a certain country or culture that does not mean that he/she will behave in a certain manner. One’s cultural extends beyond their native born country. Other elements shape his or her identity, religion, family, and education, professional training and even which part of the country they lived in.

Despite one’s culture and ethnic background, treat everyone as an individual with respect. And chances are they will do the same in return.