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Friday FAQ: Do I Need to Speak the Local Language?

Posted by Andrew Hupert on Dec 15, 2017 9:20:09 AM

Do I need to learn the local language when doing business overseas?

Like most simple questions, this one has an unfortunately complicated answer.

No, you don't have to become fluent in every market where you are buying, hiring, or travelling.  As a general rule, when you are spending money people are very accommodating and flexible.

BUT, if you hoping to compete with locals, market to locals, deal with governments, build a local brand, or be accepted as a local -- then you, a partner, or a trusted HIGH LEVEL member of your team has to be fluent in the local idiomatic language.  

 What’s your Communication Strategy?

Join our new Facebook Group:  Cross Cultural Skills Training

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Topics: international business, cross cultural business, communication strategy, translation

I’ve Got Some Bad News - Cross Cultural Partnership Edition

Posted by Andrew Hupert on Dec 14, 2017 2:59:21 PM
When should you bring up bad news in a cross-cultural partnership negotiation?
  1. Sooner
  2. Later
  3. Never
  4. It depends.

Which answer is right?

If you are talking about an international cross-cultural setting, the answer is 1.  Sooner.  Answer #2 is a recipe for conflict.   #3 is just a gamble.  You don’t bring up bad news because you hope it will never be an issue.  That’s going to work well if your deal fails, but it’s a terrible plan for success.  And what about answer 4 - it depends?

FlashMBA's Negotiators Toolkit

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Topics: international negotiation, partnerships, cross culture

Video:  The 10 Commandments of Cross Cultural Negotiation (20 mins)

Posted by Andrew Hupert on Nov 28, 2017 2:51:25 PM

How to do business across cultural boundaries.


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Topics: Video, cross cultural business, Cross cultural negotiation

Boosting Your Business with International Negotiation - slidedeck

Posted by Andrew Hupert on Nov 24, 2017 2:05:24 PM

The"10 Commandments" of CrossCultural Negotiation - Digital Version:

(click to download the full slide deck in PDF format) 

1.  Differences are more profitable than similarities.

2.Be a strategic partner or a competitive transactor - not both

3.Have a digital strategy - pick the best platform and start with short, simple messages. Multiple platforms, redundant messaging.

4.Build bridges – there is no common ground  

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Topics: international negotiation, cross cultural business, Cross cultural negotiation

Tactical Tuesday:  New Faces (Aka: Mystery Man)

Posted by Andrew Hupert on Oct 17, 2017 10:55:08 AM

New Faces

AKA:  Mystery Man, Revolving Door, Musical Chairs

Description: Another great group technique. You vary the line-up of your team during the negotiating process. New people join. Other people seem to change roles or attitudes. Can be cheesy and transparent, but it can also be very effective. Make sure this isn’t being done TO you.


Sample Usage (Alvin and Bob):   "Uh, Hi.  I was waiting to see Bob.  Bob Clawson.  I have a 2:30 appointment."

"Yes, Alvin,  I'm afraid Mr. Clawson is detained by other business.  He asked me to meet with you in his place.  I'm Carl Stone, the head of operations at Clawson Tech. "

"Well, that's suprising."

"It's no problem at all.  Mr. Clawson has briefed me in full.  Now could I ask that we please discuss the situation regarding exclusivity of the designs you'll be doing for us?  I'm not sure that we're all on the same page there."

Alvin sighed and prepared to explain - for the 4th or 5th time - his requirements about the use of his firm's intellectual property. " 

Strategic Planning for Negotiators:  Mind the Gap

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Topics: Tactical Tuesday, killer negotiating tactics, Stall, New Faces

Tactical Tuesday:  Bait and Switch (Aka: Too good to be true.)

Posted by Andrew Hupert on Oct 10, 2017 9:10:48 PM

Bait and Switch

AKA:  Fine Print, Too Good to be True

Description:  He thinks he is negotiating for what’s behind “door #1”, but at the last minute you swap in a more advantageous variable (for yourself).

Intent:  Manipulate value by swapping variables in a way favorable to you.

 Sample Usage (Alvin and Bob):  “Bob, I don’t understand what you’re talking about.  We agreed that the StorageWorld contract would be split according to the new partnership.  Now you’re telling me that I’m supposed to do this at the old contract rate?”

      “I know, Alvin.  It’s not ideal, but they moved up the schedule and  decided we have to work with the existing templates that Simmons signed off on.”

      “But what about all the work I’ve done?  I never would have agreed to drop all my other projects to focus on StorageWorld if I had known we were just treating it as another short-term contract.”

      “Alvin, it’s unfortunate, but this is the deal on the table.  We can still turn this into a solid win, but we have to buckle down and get our final designs in by next Wed.  If we can clear this last hurdle, we’ll be back on target.  This doesn’t affect our long-term plans, but right now  we have to work together.”

FlashMBA's Negotiators Toolkit

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Topics: Tactical Tuesday, Tactics, killer negotiating tactics, Bait and switch

Tactical Tuesday:  The Flinch (Aka:  You Gotta Be Kiddin' Me!)

Posted by Andrew Hupert on Oct 3, 2017 12:02:33 PM


AKA: You’re Joking, You Can’t Be Serious

Description: You pretend to be surprised and dumbstruck by their proposal.   You are shocked – SHOCKED – at their outrageous nerve! Try not to ham it up too much.  (It doesn’t seem like it would be effective – but it works.)

Sample Usage (Alvin and Bob):   Alvin had barely gotten the words out of his mouth when Bob’s face twisted in horror and he grabbed his chest.

            “40%? Did I hear that right? Are you serious? Is that what you really said? That can’t be right! Are we talking about the same thing?”   Bob’s face was beet red, and Alvin was worried that the older man was having a heart attack.

            “Well, I’m sure it’s something we can work out. Let’s just come back to that point?”

Intent: Undermine a proposal by acting as though it is insane, irrational, and personally offensive.

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Topics: negotiating tactics, countertactics, counter-tactic, flinch

Tactical Tuesday - End of the World (Aka: Panic Attack)

Posted by Andrew Hupert on Sep 26, 2017 8:07:27 PM

End of the World

AKA: Panic attack, Oh no you didn't, All over now

Description: You are threatening them with a catastrophic loss -- often of greater value than the entire deal you were negotiating -- if the other side doesn't give in to your demands RIGHT NOW.

SampleUsage:   Carol: "Hello Mr. Clauson. I represent Alvin Altar and WellsVerne Studio. I'm calling to give formal notice that neither you, nor any of you clients or associates, have the right to use the artwork or marks designed by WellsVerne Studio after this contract expires in 17 months."

            "Are you a lawyer?"

            "That's not the issue. If StorageWorld uses Alvin Altar's designs in public, they will be sued for trademark violation. Is that clear?"

            "I paid Alvin for his work, and you know it."

            "The transfer of intellectual property was never clearly delineated in your agreement."

            "So go ahead and sue me."

            "Let's understand one another, Bob. When we go to court, it won't be you we're suing. It will be your client. Your biggest client. And once that happens, you can kiss your dreams of expansion goodbye. This lawsuit will probably destroy your entire business."

FlashMBA's Negotiators Toolkit

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Topics: Tactical Tuesday, fear tactics, end of the world

5 Negotiating Essentials - Chiang Mai Digital Nomads Sept 2017

Posted by Andrew Hupert on Sep 22, 2017 3:30:00 PM

Click here for the eBook accompanying the Chiang Mai Digital Nomad presentation:


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Topics: how to negotiate, negotiating plan

Tactical Tuesday:  Benchmarking.  (Aka:  Setting the Bar)

Posted by Andrew Hupert on Sep 19, 2017 11:45:32 AM


benchmarking is a crucial negotiating tacticAKA: Setting the Bar, Comparables

Description: Benchmarking is one of the smartest -but most under-used - tactic on the list. You are establishing how “normal” gets defined by picking the external, objective index or measurement you’ll use to set value. Are your key variables tied to inflation rates, the price of oil, top-line sales, or bottom-line profits? The person who sets the benchmarks - the jointly accepted measures of value — gives himself a huge advantage. And the person who thinks that you don’t need benchmarks put himself or herself at risk.

Sample usage (Alvin and Bob): Alvin and Bob are meeting to discuss the size of Alvin’s compensation package after ClausTech absorbs his company. Alvin set the benchmark as a percentage of the big sale – putting his cut in the $ 0.5-1.5 million range. Bob was using Dice.com, a hiring board for entry-level techs, as his benchmark so he was thinking of $37 an hour range. There was still a long way to go before this negotiation even got started.

FlashMBA's Negotiators Toolkit

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Topics: Tactical Tuesday, negotiating tactics, benchmark

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