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United Kingdom communication, negotiations and cultural background By Adam Kowol and Edyta Szumieł.

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Presentation on theme: "United Kingdom communication, negotiations and cultural background By Adam Kowol and Edyta Szumieł."— Presentation transcript:

1 United Kingdom communication, negotiations and cultural background By Adam Kowol and Edyta Szumieł

2 2 Presentation outline Cultural background Verbal communication Non-verbal communication Practical tips for negotiators

3 3 Dimensions of culture Universalism (versus particularism) Individualism (versus communitarianism) Specificity (versus diffuseness) Status by achievement (versus ascription) Sequential (versus synchronic)

4 4 Universalism Universalist approach: What is good and right can be defined and always applies Implications: contracts are very important, always in writing, a deal is a deal (unwilling to renegotiate deals) lawyers are introduced into the process of negotiation personal relationship often ignored, negotiators tend to get down to business quickly rational and professional arguments uniform procedures imposed by the head office transparency and consistency

5 5 Individualism People regard themselves primarily as individuals rather than as part of a group Implications: more frequent use of "I" form a single representative feels comfortable taking decisions personal responsibility, no need to consult with superiors consensus is not deemed necessary (no need to convince everyone) the decision-making process is short risk: delays in the implementation phase, disparity between decision and implementation during negotiations the translator is supposed to be neutral

6 6 Specificity Low-context culture: not much background information is required for effective communication Implications: not afraid of losing face do not take things personally straightforward communication, open criticism work and private life are sharply separated don't mix business with pleasure personal questions are not welcome they get straight to the point (from specific to general) importance of specific, measurable objectives meetings have clear structure (timing, agendas) only relevant titles and skills are worth mentioning

7 7 Achievement-oriented culture You are judged on what you have accomplished: status is not attributed by birth, kinship, connections, gender or age Implications: the first question is likely to be "What did you study?", not "Where did you study?" academic titles are often considered irrelevant in business environment importance of data and technical considerations

8 8 Time as sequence Time is a series of passing events Implications: importance of schedules preference for following initial plans it is rude to be even a few minutes late time is money

9 9 A commanding social presence Desired qualities of a gentleman: grace good style sense of humour eloquence composure

10 10 Other cultural characteristics the British prefer talking over doing form is very important they pay more attention to numbers (e.g. financial data) than material products preoccupied with abstract ideas public debates and discussions are out of touch with reality

11 11 Verbal communication Content Form

12 12 Content Low-context: concentrate on the subject matter Topics: the English are generally open-minded welcome topics: the weather, sports, current affairs, British history, culture and popular music avoid personal questions and topics such as politics or religion

13 13 British humour Often used to release emotions General features: puns nonsense smut and innuendo black humour eccentricity satire and sarcasm understatement and irony

14 14 Form Do not interrupt anybody Speak in complete sentences Avoid sloppy language Phrase sentences correctly

15 15 Non-verbal communication Kinesics Oculesics Haptics Proxemics Paralanguage Object communication

16 16 Kinesics Gestures: British gestures are restrained excessive gesticulation can come across as aggressive behaviour Facial expressions: emotional displays, positive or negative, are frowned upon the British "keep a stiff upper lip" facial expressions are kept to a minimum

17 17 Oculesics Prolonged eye-to-eye contact can be interpreted as impolite behaviour

18 18 Haptics Touching is avoided, only handshake is acceptable Backslapping and hugging are not welcome

19 19 Proxemics Do not intrude into their personal space Keep your interlocutor at arms length Stand next to each other rather than opposite

20 20 Paralanguage Definition part of nonverbal communication how something is said rather than what is said Talk in a monotone Speak in low, measured tones without raising the voice

21 21 Object communication Clothing conservative dress is the norm a dark suit is recommended extremely informal clothing is not considered appropriate

22 22 Practical tips Make appointments a few days in advance Exchange business cards Be polite and friendly, even under stress "How do you do?" is a greeting, not a question Smile a lot Make sure you have clean shoes and fingernails Remember names Do not overstay your welcome


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