Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The 4 Golden Rules

First of all, let me share with you the few Golden Rules to keep in mind each time you are dealing with Asians:

-   Stay calm: the most important thing is to keep control over your emotions. If you loose your temper in front of Asians, you will loose their respect and all your credibility. If the negotiation is not going as you planned and your face turns all red or if you start shouting at people or hitting your fist on the table you will show the people you're talking to that you're going to surrender and accept their terms. In this situation, just stay calm and repeat your point again and again until you can come to an agreement. 

- Be humble: You can flatter people but when they flatter you, be humble and reply that it's too much of an honor and that you don’t deserve it. You will be amazed by the way people try to avoid compliments by reflecting them to others by phrases such as "it was mostly thanks to my boss" or "I've just been lucky". Never show your game or boast about anything.. Showing too much is being weak. If you want them to know about your achievements, find someone to introduce you, preferably a colleague or your translator.

-   Build up your network: identify the key people you need to know and get in touch with them. Approach them personally and get close to them by inviting them to informal events like a business lunch or a karaoke session for example. You won't go far in Asia without the proper network. It's all about harmony and saving face and to convey your message, you will need the support from the right people. You may even need people to talk on your behalf. Moreover, a "yes" is not always a straight "yes" in Asia and you may need someone from the inside to help you translate.

-   Clarify everything to avoid any misunderstanding. If something seems unclear to you or to them, rephrase it. Don't hesitate to explain who you are and what you are here for so that you can get the proper authority and gain respect. If anything goes wrong, apologize politely and explain them that people are doing things like this in your country and that your mistake is due to a lack of knowledge about their culture. Don't forget to tell them that you learned your lesson and that it won't happen again in the future.

[Feel free to use and share this material for non-commercial purpose. And don't hesitate to share your experience and questions in the comments or by email; I will come back to you as quickly as possible. Happy reading!]