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Communicating and Negotiating with Brazilian Business Partners

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1 Communicating and Negotiating with Brazilian Business Partners
Presenter: Richard R. Gesteland Global Management (USA)

2 Patterns of Norwegian and Brazilian Negotiating Behavior:
Comparing Two Business Cultures

3 What is a business culture?
A set of expectations and assumptions about how business people communicate and negotiate. Note: There are over 6900 different cultures in the world today.

4 But…comparing cultures brings a challenge: How can we avoid using stereotypes?

5 Solution: We avoid stereotyping by discussing cultural tendencies instead of stereotypes.

6 Cultural Cultural stereotyping: tendencies:
A lazy way of describing ethnic differences. “Brazilians are like that...” Description of differences based on systematic observation. Fact: No two Brazilians (or Norwegians) are alike.

7 Differences within Brazilian culture which may affect how your counterparts do business:
North/south and urban/rural divides Generational divide, level of education Degree of international business exposure Corporate culture: Global versus traditional firms Individual personalities.

8 Comparing Norwegian and Brazilian cultural tendencies in business:
Deal-Focus and Relationship-Focus Direct and Indirect Communication Egalitarian and Hierarchical Business Behavior Monochronic and Polychronic Time Nonverbal Communication (body language)

9 Let’s start with Deal-focused and Relationship-focused business cultures

10 Only a few of the world’s business cultures are Deal-focused:
North America Northern Europe, including Norway. Australia, New Zealand.

11 A few more business cultures are Moderately deal-focused:
France, Belgium, Southern Europe Russia, East and Central Europe Hong Kong and Singapore

12 The vast majority of the world’s business cultures are Relationship-focused:
Asia, except Hong Kong and Singapore Middle-East, Africa Latin America, including Brazil.

13 1. Now let’s compare Deal-focused and Relationship-focused communication and negotiating behavior

14 Deal-focused Relationship-focused Norwegians: Brazilians:
High-trust culture. Face-to-face meetings are less important. Get down to business quickly. Prefer low-context, direct language. Low-trust culture. Face-to-face meetings are very important. More small talk before business. Use high-context, indirect language in certain situations.

15 2. Direct and indirect language:
Relationship-focused people tend to communicate using high-context (indirect) language. Deal-focused people tend to use low-context (direct) language.

16 Comparing High-context and Low-context communication:
In low-context, direct language the meaning is in the words of the message. In high-context, indirect language the meaning is often in the context surrounding the words rather than in the words.

17 When are Brazilians likely to use indirect language?
To be polite: In some situations using direct language sounds rude to them. To avoid losing face. To avoid offending or disappointing others, especially high-status people such as bosses and customers.

18 Brazilian Indirect Language Examples:
Regional variations, north/south… Experience in international business… Depth of personal relationship… Difficulty saying ‘no’ to a request… When correcting or criticizing a person…

19 Why do Norwegians tend to use low-context, direct language?
To be clearly understood. To be “honest.” Norwegians often equate directness with honesty. And because Norwegians see no need to use cautious, indirect language with bosses or customers.

20 Edward T. Hall found that directness in language varies predictably across cultures:
Germans, Dutch and German-Swiss tend to be the most direct communicators. Norwegians also tend to be direct speakers. Most people from Asia, the Middle East and Latin Americans , including Brazilians, tend to often use indirect language.

21 Differing expectations of directness or indirectness cause misunderstandings:
In some situations a Brazilian may avoid saying ‘No’ directly, confusing Norwegians. In certain situations a Brazilian supplier may delay or avoid bringing problems (e.g. quality, delivery issues) to his customer’s attention.

22 3. Egalitarian and Hierarchical Business Cultures

23 Egalitarian: Hierarchical:
Nordic countries including Norway North America Australia, New Zealand Great Britain, rest of Europe Asia, Africa, Middle East Latin America including Brazil.

24 Egalitarian Hierarchical Norwegians: Brazilians:
Status differences are small. Do not defer to the boss. Status is achieved. Few layers of management. Status differences can be large. Tend to defer to authority. Status is ascribed. More layers of management.

25 4. Monochronic and Polychronic Time Cultures

26 Monochronic Time Cultures:
Germans and German-Swiss (very monochronic) North Americans and northern Europeans including Norwegians. Czech Republic, Hungary, Japan

27 Polychronic Time Cultures:
Southern and Eastern Europe, East Asia Latin America, including Brazil. South and Southeast Asia, Middle East, most of Africa (very polychronic)

28 Monochronic: Polychronic:
Punctuality is expected. Meetings usually follow an agenda. It is rude to interrupt meetings. People are less punctual. Meetings may not follow an agenda. Meetings may be often interrupted.

29 5. Nonverbal Communication: Norwegians and Brazilians

30 Norwegian and Brazilian body language issues:
Facial expression Space bubble Touch behavior Gestures.

31 Tips for negotiating with Brazilian suppliers:
Build trusting relationships Be prepared for indirect, vague language when your business partner faces a difficult or embarrassing situation.

32 Communicating and Negotiating with Brazilian Business Partners
Presenter: Richard R. Gesteland Global Management (USA)

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