More and more individuals and companies are involved in international business with easy internet access and transportation nowadays. How does cultural understanding influence your business?
International business negotiation is a cross-cultural activity. Adequate cultural understanding brings efficient negotiation results; while bad cultural understanding could easily lead to prejudice and misunderstanding.
Cross-cultural problems are always obstacles for international business no matter how fast internet technology grows. People from different geographic areas, different religious backgrounds, different social classes, different legal environments and different historical backgrounds could have totally different conceptions of the same word.
For example, when Chinese people answer you “YES” or “OK”, it doesn’t mean they really understand what you mean. Instead, it only means that they are listening to you. In most cases, this could be only a way for them to show their politeness. In fact, we see that 90% of foreigners who do business with Chinese companies make this mistake again and again. Another case is, when western people start debating during business negotiations, their Chinese counterpart would keep silent even if they disagree or dislike something. This is regarded as “acceptance” in the eyes of the western people.
Deep understanding of culture is like belonging to a family, this warms up your business counterpart. Imagine that when your business partner comes to you, he feels at home, you will see business as only one of the results of your partnership. We can compare it to the lovers who stay together — it’s not a surprise if you create a baby together, and that’s not the only thing!
What kind of business are you in? How does cross cultural understanding influence your business?