The European Union in International Commercial Negotiations
Commercial negotiation is negotiation in the context of a business setting such that it involves the management of commercial activities that includes contract negotiation and project management with the sole intention of making maximum returns from the same. This process allows for the development and creation of new business opportunities CITATION Bea00 l 1033 ( Beasor & Steele, 2000). The job description of commercial negotiators includes an overviewing role in the whole sales process and to some extend responsible for the implementation of a detailed business sales plan. The overall role is to make sure they retrieve the best deal out of any business opportunity. It is therefore important for a commercial negotiator to have a grasp of the customers’ business needs in order to offer the required products and services demanded by the consumer.
Commercial negotiation entails the following vital functions. Conducting market research of the different products by the business, analysis of data from the sale activities of a business, provision of financial reports to the senior management of the business and also to the different stakeholders of the enterprise. Another function is the identification of new opportunities for the business, commercial negotiation also includes reviewing and assessing opportunities for new businesses. Commercial negotiators play a critical role in the maximization of the revenue from the business.
Commercial negotiation thus requires one to have the necessary skills to excel in the field. One needs to have great interpersonal skills that will enable them to easily interact with people. This is important in order to win and sell ideas to the people one interacts without stepping outside one mandate. Procedural and communication skills are necessary for commercial negotiators because of the constant flow of information from team members. One should also be accommodative of other team member’s opinions that are different from dependable as a commercial negotiator. Commercial negotiators play a pivotal role in the success of any business. A successful commercial negotiator brings together control elements and definitions and operates them efficiently. This means that a successful commercial negotiator will apply leadership skills already applied in the departmental running. The role of a commercial negotiator is to blend responsibilities related to project execution, planning, monitoring and achievement of the desired goals. For someone to be a successful manager they should have demonstrated ability to lead others and organize work CITATION Gat11 l 1033 (Gates, 2011).
A commercial negotiator needs to have contact with other required resources. For projects that need coordination between divisions and departments, a commercial negotiator with contacts outside a single department is required. An aspiring commercial negotiator should ensure and develop contacts within the organization’s departments to help run a project successfully. They should also be able to coordinate a diverse pool of resources. This would be achieved by working with different people from different backgrounds and disciplines. As an aspiring commercial negotiator, one should be able to supervise and delegate work in areas alien to their background. All this is possible by having a close rapport and teamwork.
Procedural and communication skills. This is because of the constant flow of information from team members. One should also be accommodative of other team member’s opinions that are different from dependable as a commercial negotiator.
Commercial negotiation skills and techniques in the western world (European Union) and China
For one to do business abroad he has to understand the various cultures and practices that are accepted in the process of commercial negotiation. Before travelling to the European Union one has to consider the required etiquette that is observed and required in the meetings, negotiations and business protocol. Europeans are known to be humorless, stubborn, and aggressive they also pay attention to details. A successful business has to understand the cross cultural aspects to present the right etiquette. The Europeans are strictly formal while doing business and according to them it’s wrong to swap jokes or have informal chats when working. Europe is a significant trade partner for many states. Learning to do business in Europe and understanding their business practices, culture and etiquette improves skills and success of international business men CITATION Meu05 l 1033 ( Meunier, 2005).The first aspect of etiquette in Europe’s business spheres is Organization. They are usually uneasy with ambiguity and disorder. They lean towards conservatism and conformism they don’t like uncertainty so one has to have first-hand information and facts at hand. When doing business in Europe, one has to emphasize on careful planning. One has to consult and get a consensus before presenting his idea and opinions. European commercial negotiations appreciate statistics, facts and details and there is no room for mistakes and omissions. To observe business etiquette one has to avert risk and negate uncertainty. The stress on conformity and fear of risk makes them apprehensive and they guarantee security through risk analysis. This is ensured by keen deliberation and scrutiny based on factual evidence and not intuition. They prefer written documentation as it is the safest and objective for analysis.
In communication the Chinese mind their privacy and they usually divide their private and public life. While communicating one has to be formal and stick to official duty. They don’t talk about their private lives as they are protective of personal issues. They prefer their communication to be short direct and straight to the point. They consider emotions unnecessary in conversations at the work place.They don’t talk out of context as they only stick to the issue at hand. The Chinese also prefer brief greetings and that’s why they only do short handshakes When several people are being introduced they take turns to greet each other and they avoid reaching out over someone’s hand. They find it rude to greet someone with one hand in the pocket and when women enter a room the men stand as a show of politeness. The men sit after all the women have taken their seats. The Chinese etiquette requires that people are addressed using Mr., Ms or Mrs. followed by the surname. The only people who are allowed to use the first names are family members and very close friends. The Chinese culture also insists on the use of professional titles such as doctors, academics and others. One has to establish professional titles before any meeting. They use the surnames to maintain formality and respect CITATION Lam00 l 1033 ( Lam, 2000).
Punctuality is another important aspect of etiquette in Europe. Punctuality is a serious issue as they value their time. The business people are usually under a lot of pressure and they plan for their time very well to meet their daily objectives. Being late shows disrespect for people and their time, it is also a show that the person is not interested or not serious about the business deal or meeting. The punctuality is seen as a sign of commitment to the business. Europeans also don’t mix humor with business affairs. If jokes are made they should be in context and tasteful. They usually have a very strict protocol in their meetings leaving little room for humor. They believe that when jokes are made during business then the meeting seizes to be formal. In doing business with Europeans one has to plan ahead the meetings should be booked two to three weeks in advance. They have a culture where they hold their meetings between eleven to one and three to five p.m. They avoid meetings on Friday afternoons, during their regional festivities and the holiday months of July, December and August.Their meetings in most cases are usually formal, functional and they stick to the set agenda. The set start time and finish time are obeyed by all means so everything is done within the time limit. They prioritize business as they discourage relationship building and small talks CITATION Lam00 l 1033 ( Lam, 2000).
They analyze commercial negotiation proposals thoroughly while considering every detail. They ensure the information and facts are provided in written and scientifically presented. They make logical conclusion basing on the empirical details. Decisions are not made based on the subject’s charm or marketing skills but they consider concrete facts and the accuracy found in the details. The Europeans are slow when it comes to making decisions hence the proceedings should not be rushed. They take their time as they try to furnish the decisions with additional information. Once a decision is reached they rarely change their mind regarding the same. They give respect priority and they give each other personal space in the work environment. They are not allowed to touch during meetings and business dealings. They don’t mix official meeting with social issues.
They prefer official dressing when doing commercial negotiations .They rarely dress in casual clothes when working. Europeans trade show participants do not wear badges. Introductions are saved until the visitor shows interest. If the introduction is made too early they consider it superficial and intrusive. Europeans also don’t give their business cards quite easily. They value their privacy and in case they hand you one it should be treated as confidential and private. It should not be passed to another person without the owner’s permission. In calling the Europeans they take it offensively when they are not referred to by their title and name. Europeans shake hands to say hello and goodbye. The hand shake should be done using a firm grip. This is a show of respect and also it depicts the appreciation of the colleague. Women are the ones to be greeted first and not while seated. The men have to stand before they greet women this clearly shows the high level of respect they maintain in the working area. They also have a culture of maintaining eye contact. This is a show of confidence and legitimacy. In Germany company stability and long term commitment are top priorities. Europeans are usually curious about the company ownership, history and the product lines. References will be requested to prove honesty and reliability. Because of all this the process may be slow and trying to speed them up is considered rude and suspicious.
Importance of Knowledge on Target Culture in Commercial Negotiation
The influence of cultural diversity has major impacts on work relationships in most organizations commercial negotiation. The cross cultural occurrence affects communication between employees, causing confusion and thereafter results in misunderstanding in the workplace. It is therefore important for both managers and their employees to understand the target cultures’ communication process and recognize the sources of cross cultural conflicts. Depending on how they are managed, cross cultural conflicts may have either positive or negative outcomes. It is also important for managers to develop better skills that help in handling the complications caused by different cultures. Managers should be able to convert the problems of cultural diversity into strengths of the organization CITATION Bea00 l 1033 ( Beasor & Steele, 2000).
This is so to avoid getting in disputes in different cross-cultural platforms. As a commercial negotiator it is important to identify and address any underlying disputes or conflicts before anything goes wrong at the workplace. I have made it clear to my employees of the expected behaviors at the work place and most importantly during their interactions with foreign customers.
As a negotiator one is the greatest ally but greatest obstacle to effective management of my employees. One has to closest to the junior managers who need to adapt to the new behaviors and cultures associated with management programs. Getting supervisors and managers on board and taking the lead in supporting cultural diversity is an important aspect of my commercial negotiation skills. This will ensure that employees are given an opportunity and platform to interact and raise any issues or concerns that they might have. Most importantly, employees should be given a chance to develop their own competencies and skills for enhancing cultural sensitivity among other employees in the company.
As a commercial negotiator working in a multicultural company, it has been necessary for me to develop my skills in cross-cultural conflict management which affects productivity in the long run. Cross-cultural disputes have often lead to voluntary employment termination. These conflicts resulted in the loss of working time and loss of morale CITATION Bea00 l 1033 ( Beasor & Steele, 2000).
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