Nowadays, with the quickening pace of economic globalization, more and more companies, businessmen and individuals are involved in international business. International business negotiation has become an essential and important section of the business activities, so in this paper the business negotiation will be introduced; also the factors that decide the success in the business negotiation will be introduced.
First, business negotiation is the business process which interests all parties together to resolve disputes, to agree upon courses of action, to bargain for individual or collective advantage and to attempt them to craft outcomes which serve their mutual interests.
Then there are a lot of factors that decide the success in the business negotiation, and in this paper, some of the decisive factors will be talked about, for example, the different cultural backgrounds, and different manners. In these factors, there are still more details that people should pay attention. Also some cases will be discussed in this paper.
Now, the cases and factors that influence the international business negotiation will be talked about in the following.
II. Some Cases of Etiquette in Business Negotiation
There are many cases of successful and failing etiquette in business negotiation, and in this paper several failing cases caused by the failing etiquette will be discussed to arouse people’s attention.
A. The Case of Failing Etiquette in Business Meeting
The business meeting is always very serious and especially for the international business meeting, there are many things to be noticed. In many cases, some cases are failed just because your etiquette, maybe you think it is just no problem, but the other party will pay much attention to it. Through the etiquette, they can know your company’s attitude and efficiency. Now let’s look at the following failing case of a business meeting.
Case 1: Mr. Liu was the fresh man in the company A and in the overseas sales department, and one day the foreign customers said they would come to hold a meeting for the price and quality of their order. The manager thought Mr. Liu was a new comer and he could speak English, so he arranged Mr. Liu with him to meet the customers. The customer company, though small, was a big customer to A, but Mr. Liu was not familiar with it, he thought it was just a small company and his oral English was quite good, so everything would be ok. Mr. Liu did not prepare for anything. Next day, when he went to the meeting room, the meeting had been begun for twenty minutes. When he sat down, he began to introduce himself and the manager to the customers, and the customers began asking him about the detail things about the product that the customer need, but Mr. Liu was not familiar with the product, and after customers’ several questions, he just said sorry, then went to ask the manager questions, and then translated them to the customers. But Mr. Liu was good at oral English, he was not familiar with the product terms, and the customers sometimes cannot understand the meanings. It wasted a lot of times. Then the sound of music rang, Mr. Liu knew it was his cell phone, he went outside to answer the phone, and then when he came back to the meeting room, he found all the customers had gone; only left the manager. Later Mr. Liu was fired. Of course, the order was canceled by the customers.
B. The Case of Failing Etiquette in Business Visit
Before the business visit, the host party should make the arrangement for the visit, for example, the topic, and the reception in case of the troubles. In the following case is an example of failing etiquette in business visit.
Case 2: One day, Mr. Li was appointed to visit their long time cooperation partner for 2 days, which provides the parts for their products, hoping they can reduce the price a little. Mr. Li was very happy, he thought the visit was just like to play or travel, for many people did just like this before. When he went to the city of their partner’s, the partner company was very passionate, went to pick up Mr. Li from the railway station, and sent him to the hotel to have dinner then to go to rest. Next day, Mr. Li wanted to travel around the city, he asked the partner company to arrange a car and a beautiful Miss to go with him, and the partner company did as what he asked. Mr. Li had a very good time, and then in the last day he asked the partner company to buy some souvenirs and gifts for his colleagues and leaders, the partner company had only prepared some gifts for him and the manager, so they rejected his demand. Mr. Li was angry, he said, if you do not do as what I said, and then our company will not buy the parts from you again. The partner company was angry too, they thought Mr. Li just played in these two days, and all the costs were paid by them, Mr. Li was too rude. So they gave a call to the manager of Mr. Li and talked about the whole thing, and said we were business cooperation partners and friends, please also respect our company. The manager was very angry for Mr. Li and apologized to the partner company, and then asked Mr. Li to return at once. When Mr. Li was back, the manager sent him to another department with a lower position.
C. The Case of Failing Etiquette in Business Correspondence
There is a similar view about writing of business correspondence, which is seven—Cs principle, that is, be clear, concise, correct, courteous, conversational, convincing and complete. And in business correspondence, the words should be formal, not oral words. If your words are too casual, the receiver will think you do not respect them, and do not pay attention to the relevant matter, and as a result, the matter will be messed up. In case 3 we will look at a failing example.
(1) We ask you to enquire into the financial and credit status of a firm in Milan on our behalf.
In this sentence, “ask” shows the tone of order. Originally, it is you that need others to help you to do something, so you should use the tone of appealing. When the people receive the letter, he would not like to help you.
(2) Your letter in reply to ours of May 18 came this morning, and now we do not understand anymore clearly your complaint than we did before.n others’ shoes to choose the words.
(3) Your order of No.85 for 100,000 yards of Cotton Prints Art. No. 1002 is rejected.Also in this sentence, the tone is too direct, which is not polite.
III. Reasons for the Failing cases in Business Negotiation
A. Cultural Differences’ Influence on Verbal Communication
Business Negotiation is different from common talk. The parties participated in negotiation have a same objective, or direction which is usually made out from the beginning of negotiation. For example, deciding time for transaction, consulting the price problem, coordinating the action of each other. Also this object or direction may be found in the process of negotiation. So negotiator must pay attention to each sentence or each word of business talks.
There are guidelines of four basic maxims of conversation or general principles underlying the efficient cooperative of language. The cooperative principle: the maxim of quality, the maxim of quantity, the maxim of relevance, the maxim of manner. If negotiators follow the four maxims strictly, they can take the most effective communication. But in fact, those maxims are often violated, because business negotiation relates to mutual benefits and various relations. Therefore we should pay much attention to the talks, and it is the most important part among the business negotiation. To master the reasonable language skill is very important for you to be successful in the business negotiation.
For the different cultures of different countries, we should be familiar with the culture of our customer and their negotiation style. For example, America is China’s the most important business partner, so we should be familiar with their culture. American is an extroverted people, self-confident, and decisive. Therefore in negotiation, they are very direct, and pay much attention to the real effect. If they do not accept your advice, they will directly tell you“No”. But the Chinese always give some delicate hints in negotiation, for the American, they can not understand it, and sometimes may arise misunderstandings. So to Americans, we should be very direct in business talks. While the British are traditional and introverted, you should be very careful of your words and their means. Different cultures have different attitudes toward negotiation．There is a joke about an American and Japanese sitting on a park bench in Tokyo．Both are businessmen．The American says，“Well，you know I've been in Japan for my company for forty years．Forty years! And now they are sending me back home to the States in just a few days．”The Japanese replies. “That’s the problem with you Americans：here today and gone tomorrow．” This shows a major difference in cross—cultural negotiation-the pace at which negotiations are conducted．
Also in business talks, we should choose different languages based on the persons of different positions, ages and characters.
In common, the language should be polite, simple to understand, flat, firm and sometimes can be humorous. But before we have said that business negotiation relates to mutual benefits and various relations, so there always have divergences. And sometimes you will meet some embarrassments, for example, if the other party forces you to make a decision at once, but you can not. In this case, do not say “Let me think about it.” or “It’s hard for me to make a decision right now.” for these kind of sentences will impress others of lacking of judgment. At this moment, you can politely say that“Excuse me, could you please wait for several minutes? I want to wash my hands now.”which can give you several minutes to think about the question and then make a decision.
When the speaker flouts the talk openly, in other words, the speaker and the hearer both know the speaker is flouting certain contents, the hearer may think the speaker is lying or saying irrelevantly. Then he may regard it as unrespectable. Naturally he would behave impolitely. Finally, the negotiation has to be broken off.
In business negotiation, there are several points should be noticed. First, do not say “Yes” easily. Though we have prepared sufficiently, inevitably there will be some difficult problems. Some negotiators may easily say “Yes” to save the face---especially for the Chinese leaders. If you said “Yes”, which means you have agreed with them, and you cannot change your opinion any more, but always it will harm your own benefit. If you are not very familiar with the problem, you can consult others or put it aside and give the customer answer later.
Second, in business negotiation, there are some questions that should be avoided. Do not ask hostility questions. No matter the other party comes from which country, is of what kind of race, or cultural background, they should be treated fairly. Do not use any language with hostility and discrimination. Do not ask the questions about their personal lives. Especially the Chinese think that asking some questions about the family or personal lives can make the customers feel friendlier. But in most countries, especially in business talks, they do not like to answer the questions about their salaries, family conditions, or the age of their wives. These questions are private, so do not talk them in business negotiation. The last one, do not ask the questioned questions. For example, you are afraid that the other party can not understand your question; you will ask them “Do you understand me?” The question is a kind of disrespect to others, for it means that you are questioning others’ understanding abilities. So do not always ask these kinds of questions in business talks.
The view on writing of business correspondence, which is
seven—Cs principle, that is, be clear, concise, correct, courteous, conversational, convincing and complete. To some extent，this writing principle can be applied to speaking of business English because of its broad instructing significance．In the process of business negotiation，it is beyond doubt that the negotiators need to state their intentions clearly and exactly, meanwhile, the necessity of being vague can never be ignored as to achieve a perfect communication goal.
Language can be used for not only expressing ideas or transmission of messages, but also building and maintaining the interpersonal function, by means of which people communicate with one another，exchange information，thoughts，memories and wishes, even influence and control the others．Also, language serves a social purpose in that it provides the means for conveying basic conceptual propositions， for setting them in correspondence with those in the minds of other people，and for using concepts to get things done in the business of social interaction．
B. Cultural Differences’ Influence on Non-Verbal Communication
Culture is ubiquitous，multidimensional，complex，and all-pervasive and has received many definitions from scholars．Culture and communication，though two different concepts，are directly linked．Whenever people interact they communicate．To live in societies and to maintain their culture they have to communicate.
Culture is learned，acted out，transmitted，and preserved through communication．And the communication，our ability to share our ideas and feelings．is the basis of all human contact．Culture not only influence on our people’s verbal communication, but also influence on our non-verbal communication.
In the process of globalization, people from different cultures are closely connected together, especially in economic field. As for Chinese people, they have to communicate with people from different cultures more frequently since China s access to WTO. However, misunderstanding of cultural differences in nonverbal communication is a serious barrier to intercultural communication. Here the non-verbal communication will be studied. The non-verbal communication has two kinds of contents, first is the information that the human body send out, including the image, motion, eye communication, countenance, touch, odor, and etc. ; second is the time, place and silence composed by individuals, and environments. Different cultures have different non-verbal communications, which also should be paid attention to in the business negotiation.
Different cultures may have the same non-verbal language forms, but the meanings sometimes are different, for example, in America, they use thumb and forefinger to make a circle to show the meaning of “ok”. While in Japan, it means money; in France it means zero or no vale; in Turkey and Greece it means something related to gay.
In China, there is an old saying, “Silence is gold”. Chinese use silence to show acquiescence, contemplation, reservation or opposing, while in the western countries, they regard silence as impoliteness and lack of self confidence. For clothing, some countries have their taboos, for example, in Arab countries, females are not allowed to show their body and face out. They must wear abas and veils. In America, while for business, people should stay for a distance from others, while in China some people stay very close to show the friendliness and familiarity.
Equality is the key standard in western culture．American and English people esteem the value of equality and stick to the equal and reasonable principle．They think both sides in business should get profits，and the purpose for negotiation is to discuss how to share the profits．However, in eastern countries like China and Japan，people have strong hierarchy value since old time．For example，Chinese buyers think buyer in a business is higher and enjoys more power than seller in status，thus has the privilege to make preferential suggestions for their side．Learning the disparity of values between Chinese and westerners can help us to make equal and wise decision based on practical situation．
People from oriental and western culture have different views on time，and even people from the same culture but different countries would probably have different point of views．For instance，Spanish and Dutch are from the same cultural system，but they do not think alike about the time．Dutch are very punctual，while the Spanish are rarely on time．As a result，discord may arise as well between negotiators who are from these two countries．
There are many different kinds of truth in the world，and the source of“truth” for a culture can heavily influence business transactions．Generally speaking，there are mainly two kinds of truth，objective and subjective. To achieve a successful business negotiation．It is important to understand the form of evidence or truth of the culture you are doing business with prefers．We will use the former method to analyze this fact.
The role of women in international business is an other area of particular importance in cross-cultural communication．As you might suspect，that role is directly linked to the values of each culture．For example, there are many countries where customs，attitudes，and religion are hostile to women in business and there is no question that international business negotiations am dominated by men．Even in the United States，women are seldom found at the CEO level．Women，however, constitute a large proportion of the world’s workforce and therefore demand our attention.
International business negotiation and culture are inseparable and the disparity of the culture will be the largest challenge for Chinese enterprises to gain access to the international market，and for foreign founded companies to accomplish Chinese market access．Therefore，negotiators should possess the fundamental knowledge about the cultures of their counterparts．
C. Lack of the knowledge of Business negotiation Principle and Etiquette
In business negotiation, there are many things to be noticed, and from the above failing cases, we can see that the fail mostly depend on the lack of knowledge of business negotiation principle and etiquette, so we should pay much attention to the principle and etiquette of the business negotiation.
According to this, all participants of the business negotiation must adhere to some basic conversational principles or social norms to succeed these social interactions, of which the most important ones are the cooperative principle, the politeness principle, and the face theory.
In the observation of the successful speech communication, it is said that, addressors and addressees observe a behavioral dictum in ordinary conversation, which is the cooperative principle. In every successful and effective conversation, the participants must first of all be willing to cooperate; otherwise, it would not be possible for them to carry on the talk. This general principle is called the cooperative principle, which is based on the belief that human conversation is not made up of utterances irrelevant to each other; on the contrary, in order to communicate with each other smoothly; the conversational partners will voluntarily observe certain pragmatic principles, such as “Make your conversational contribution such as is required, at the stage at which it occurs, by the accepted purpose or direction of the talk exchange in which you are engaged”.
The definition of politeness principle in language study could be：“how languages express the social distance between addressors and their different role relations. Politeness provides a missing link between the cooperative principles and solves the problem of how to relate sense to the effect of a speech act. The observance of the politeness principle is a basic requirement to achieve the intended goal of the conversation, and the breach of this principle often leads to undesirable consequences. As a widely acknowledged principle in communication and a constant background to be considered, politeness can demonstrate the social distance and status, establish one’s good impression, and at least save face. Thus politeness theory is crucial in explaining why sometimes people are indirect in conveying what they mean and satisfactorily explaining some exceptions to any apparent deviations from the cooperative principle．
The illocutionary acts bringing about by the utterance involve two factors: Benefit and cost. Some speech acts has the property of face threatening while some are impolite in its inherent nature, such as order, demand, and threat, yet the speech acts of representative and declaration have no relationship with the politeness at al1. For
Instance, if the addressor asks the addressee to perform certain tasks for him, the benefit side will be the addressor and at the same time, the side which suffers the cost is the addressee. On the contrary, if the addressor initiatively works for the addressee, the benefit side will be the latter and the addressor is suffering the cost. Of course, the benefit and cost here is in the broadest sense, not the specific meaning in material.
Face is an image of self delineated in terms of approved social attributes. They incorporate the notion of face into their theory of linguistic politeness, seeing it as a binary concept consist of negative and positive face. When an addressor is too assertive, the addressee’s negative face may be under threat, thus imposing upon the addressee’s own opinions, or the addressee’s positive face may be threatened when an addressor insults the addressee. Similarly, an illocutionary act may be damaging an addressor’s own negative face when he is forced to make an involuntary offer or promise，or the addressor’s positive face may be on the line when he has to admit a mistake. Two kinds of politeness, negative an d positive，can then be adopted so as to avoid doing face—threatening acts baldly, that is, politeness may be used to counteract the threat that face threatening acts may impose.
Next are some points should be noticed for the etiquette. In social situation, the decent appearance is a kind of politeness, and affects the interpersonal relationship in some extent. Appearance mostly focuses on clothing, and clothing should comply with “TPO” principle, which means “Time, Place, and Object”4. Commonly, clothing should be at the right time, right place and in line with your object, and then that will be a right and perfect appearance. Especially, in business negotiation, the appearance should be noticed, for it is very formal. For male, in formal occasions, males always wear business suit. The colors of suit top and suit pants should be the same, and for the suit, shirt, and tie, at least two of them should be with the plain color. The clothing for females’ is not the same as males’, but should be flexible to bring the proper tenderness in to play. Female should learn how to make the clothes, shoes, hairstyle, accessories, and make-up together perfect and harmonious. Naturally, in business negotiation, female had better wear the suit. For everyone’s complexion is different, you should choose the right color suit based on your complexion. Then based on the color of the suit, you choose the right accessories, hairstyle, and make-up and so on.
When businessmen are going to welcome or to send off their customers, there are many factors should be noticed, for example, time to reach and leave, introduction, the well preparation of reception, etc. The standard of welcome and send-off should comply with two principles---passion and politeness.
The time for business negotiation should be chosen carefully. The negotiation time should be decided by two concerned parties not by only one side. And mostly, the time should be chosen at the best time for customer, by this, in negotiation, the customer can have a good mood and the negotiation is easier to go on. The negotiation place should be prepared carefully. The negotiation place is better at the familiar place, but if you cannot strive for your familiar place, you had better choose the place that both two parties are not familiar with.
The relative information and data should be chosen carefully. All the information and data that are relative to the business negotiation topic should be researched impersonally to master the most useful information and to be active in the negotiation. The negotiation persons should be chosen well. Generally, the negotiation team is composed of the main negotiator, assistant, expert, and other members. Your negotiators’ position and statue should be the same as the other party’s. The negotiators should be well cultured and self restrained.
IV. Revolutions for the Questions of Failing Etiquette
For the failing etiquette, nearly all of them can be avoided. If you have prepared well for the business negotiation, and knew the etiquette of the business negotiation, all the unnecessary failing will be deleted. For example, in case 1, if Mr. Liu can prepare for the meeting in advance---to be familiar with the customer, their cultural background, the product details and the terms for the product, I think he will eave the situation. Of course, in the beginning, he has made mistakes. When attending meetings, people should stick to the principle of punctuality, and usually, the host party should come earlier than the arranged time. Before meeting, please turn off the cell phone, and if you forget it, the cell phone rings, you should say sorry to all the attendants and then turn off the cell phone, do not answer it. Also, except for the above, the negotiation place should be prepared carefully. The negotiation place is better at the familiar place, but if you cannot strive for your familiar place, you had better choose the place that both two parties are not familiar with. The relative information and data should be chosen carefully. All the information and data that are relative to the business negotiation topic should be researched impersonally to master the most useful information and to be active in the negotiation. The negotiation persons should be chosen well. Generally, the negotiation team is composed of the main negotiator, assistant, expert, and other members. Your negotiators’ position and statue should be the same as the other party’s. The negotiators should be well cultured and self restrained.
In case 2---business visit, Mr. Li was too proud and irresponsible for the company. When sent to visit customers or partners, you should be polite and respect them. Visit is not just to travel or play, and you should know the mission of this visit, and then prepare well for it, including the situation of customers’ or partners’, the data that you need, and sometimes you can send some small gifts to others to show friendship.
In case 3, in the business correspondence, the words should be carefully chosen and formal and polite. For example, the sentence (1) should be written as “We would like you to enquire into the financial and credit status of a firm in Milan on our behalf” or “We should be grateful if you to enquire into the financial and credit status of a firm in Milan on our behalf”. Sentence (2) should be written as “Thank you for the letter of May 18, in order that we may be of the greatest possible help to you, will you please tell us just what you wish us to do about the matters”, which is more polite and easy to accept by the receivers. And sentence (3) should be “We regret to inform you that we have been unable to accept your order No. 85 for 100,000 yards of Cotton Prints Art. No.1002”. So in business correspondence, both parties should build good images for the economic benefits. Usually, in business correspondence, the formal words should be chosen, such as the special terms, for example, invitation to bid, award the contract, refer to the drawer, specimen signature of holder, force majeure, documents against payment, documentary LC, and confirmed letter of credit. The words in business correspondence are formal, but should be concise to communicate easily with customers. The rare words will add barriers in communications. So you should choose the direct words without decorating words, for example, one price (fixed price), year - end sales, door - to - door service, All sales are final, 40 % discount, and face - to - face discussion. Also in business correspondence the abbreviations are frequently used, so you should be very familiar with them, for example, CFR (= cost and freight), FCL (= full container load), C. I. O. (=cash in order), ISO (= International Organization for Standardization), FS ( = Federal Standard), J IS ( = Japanese Industrial Standard), CNY ( = Chinese Yuan), GBP(= Great Britain Pound), FRF ( = French Franc), AFAA ( = average freight rate as assessment), ETA( = estimated time of arrival), SS( = steamship), OPEC ( = Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries), IMF ( = International Monetary Fund), SINOCHART ( = China National Chartering Corporation), kg ( = kilogram), gal ( =gallon), ft ( = foot), PE = (polyethylene), PS
(= polystyrene), HDPE (= high density polyethylene). These words are frequently in business correspondence and emails, so we should get familiar with all of them.
In business negotiation, both parties are not only for their own benefits but also for their mutual benefits, so both parties should pay much attention to the manners in the business negotiation, especially for the host party. Therefore, in this thesis, through three cases of failing etiquette, reasons of the failing and revolutions for the failing etiquette, we can see that in business negotiation, there are many things that should be noticed.
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