Chinese Negotiation: Do not interrupt me! And six reasons why you should not

Image via Wikimedia Commons

A lot of the tips that we share here on how to negotiate effectivelyin China are obviously not China-specific, but well-known negotiation tips or tactics. The reason why I choose to write about them for you is because, in some way, they are specially relevant to the China context.

Do not feel offended if it is not your case, but we have a distinct tendency to interrupt each other when we are negotiating or discussing. This is not only a big mistake but it is also culturally inaproppiate.

This is an anecdote shared by a Western businessman in China on this topic:

Once, while we were on the process of setting up our company, we were waiting at the notary´s office. There was a meeting going on inside and the discussion got quite heated. There was huge shouting coming from the office but there was also one detail that struck me. Not even at the peak of the argument did they interrupt each other. The dynamic was a heated argument in which each party would take turnsto shout and curse at the other, and then stopped and waited for the other part to react in a similar way. I had never witnessed something like that in my life”

So these are six reasons why you should not interrupt your business contact while negotiating:

In general:

1.If you are interrupting, you are not listening. And listening is thekey to effective negotiation.

2.You may prevent the other party from sharing information that may be helpful for you later on in the negotiation

3.It may be perceived as rudeto interrupt somebody who is talking to you

In China, particularly,

4.Chinese are good at listening and they do not interrupt the other negotiatorwhile talking.

5.It does not help you build the relationship, and relationship-building is vital to business success in China.

6.They just can´t understand why you asked a question if you are not going to let them answer.

What is your negotiation experience? Tell us your story!

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 If you are interested on this topic you may also like to read the following posts:

* 36 Tips on How to Deal or Negotiate with your Chinese Suppliers
* Sourcing from China: Who are the Happy Buyers?
* Quality Control. Can you Hear me Loud and Clear?
* 4 Tips to Succeed in Times of Silence

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