By Juanita Grant,2014-06-20 22:58
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    Communicating Styles of Different Countries


    Yixin Zhou

    College of Economy

    Since China entered the WTO, we have been keeping up with the process of the integration of global economy. It’s hard to imagine that the business enterprises of our country do not take international trade into their overall development planning. According to the statistic analyzed by the United Nations Centre on Transnational Corporation, in the late 60’s, there were 7,267 transnational corporations in western developed countries, and the number of oversea subsidiaries under control reached 27,300; in the late 70’s and early 80’s, the amount of transnational corporations increased to over 10,000, and their subsidiaries, branches and affiliated groups achieved an amount of 104,000. These multinational corporations have contributed to the 40% of the world’s production, 50%~60% of the world’s trade, 60%~70% of the world’s technology trade, and 90% of world’s foreign direct investment. Multinational trade is still developing at a surprising speed, and I believe without cross-culture business communication there will be no way for transnational corporation to expand.

    As we can see from above, transnational corporation is a very important part of the world’s economy, and to let this whole trading system work properly, cross-culture business communication has played an indispensable role in it. In this essay I will talk about how to successfully communicate with business people from different cultures (different countries).1.The communicating style of Americans.

    ? Way of communication -- Straightforwardness

    According to cultural anthropologist Edward T. Hall (1976)’s classification of culture, American culture belongs to Lower Context Culture. In this form of culture, communication tends to be easy and direct. American business men are straight, honest, passionate and conversational, and they have a strong desire to express themselves. Americans tend to be pragmatic, and they have a tangible and rational definition towards right and wrong. When it’s difficult for them to accept one’s offer, they tell the other person clearly that they can’t accept, and they never talk ambiguously. Also, any kind of equivocation will be considered a lack of confidence, or even insincere and hypocritical.

    ? Decision-making process -- Individuality

    Americans value individuality, freedom and equality. As a result, business men tend to weaken the idea of social stratum, and tend to respect one’s performance in actual work. In the decision-making process of a business enterprise, it usually characterized with individual or minority, from top to bottom, and it emphasize the responsibility of individual. Their desire of self-expression is extremely strong, so they would love to play heroes and show their full confidence in the negotiation.

    ? Concept of time -- Punctuality

    Americans are punctual, and they have a strong sense of timing. If you want to do business with Americans, you have to make a reservation and more importantly show up on time. They would feel shame and guilty if they are late for an appointment. Once they find they are unable to keep an appointment, they will call the other person to inform him and apologize as well, or they’ll be considered insincere or unreliable. When doing business, Americans are always trying to save time. They don’t like unnecessary and overelaborate formalities, but prefer to confront a subject directly. In the values of Americans, time is linear and limited, and it must be used effectively.? Attitude towards contract

    Americans are extremely strict about contracts. Because of American’s high population mobility, American people are unable to build a long-lasting and steady trusting relationship with each other. Therefore they have to use contract which cannot be changed by personal relation as an effective way to guarantee their interest or even survival. Americans always sign a contract after careful and cautious examination, and they want the contract to be perfect. They think a contract should include as many details as possible to be secure. And if they sign it, they will do as they say.

2.Communicating style of Canadians

    ? Way of communication

    Canadians are experts in snow and ice sports, therefore the topic of people talking are mainly about skiing, skating, ice hockey and so on. Canadians abstain from the number “13”, so it’s th. They like the color blue, when you are inappropriate to arrange meetings or dinners on the 13

    invited as a guest you can bring flowers or gifts wrapped in blue.

    ? Decision-making process

    Canadian residents are mainly descendants of French and British, so when they make decisions they show an obvious French and British style. In Canada, each province has their independent decision-making authority towards the social construction, business activities, and technology development.

    ? Attitude towards contract

    French style business men are relatively casual towards contracts, and they usually ask to sign the contract after they reach the agreement on main clauses. Because they think the subordinate clauses can be discussed after signature. British style business men are on the other hand relatively conservative towards contract, and they value credibility and integrity. Once the contract is signed, there’s little chance for them to violate.

    3.Communicating style of British

    ? Way of communication

    British gentlemen are well known by the world for their calmness and playing down. They would love to start conversation with topics like their cultural heritage and how to keep pets. On the other hand British seldom talks about politics, religion, or royal affairs. If you meet a British for the first time, of course the best and safest topic would be weather. When negotiating in business, they tend to be moderate and state their position briefly, and after that they would keep silent showing confidence and cautiousness.

    ? Decision-making process

    British business men regard discipline, order, and responsibility as extremely important. In an organization, rights move from top to bottom, and there exists a rigid hierarchy. When doing international business, unlike Americans’ respect for performances in actual work, the concept of hierarchy makes British pay special attention to the other person’s social status, experience, achievements, and background.

    ? Attitude towards contract

    British see contract as extremely significant, and they would focus on every details of the contract. Once they find anything in the contract inappropriate, they would refuse to sign it unless you convince them patiently and provide strong evidence as well. British will keep their word most of the time and take the contract seriously.

    4.Communication style of French

    ? Way of communication

    Most of French are conversational, emotional, and they never run out of topic. When doing business, they like to start conversation with some interesting social news or cultural events to create an easy and delightful atmosphere. After chatting time, here comes the real business, and during the negotiation, they like to use French because of their respect for French culture and traditions.

    ? Decision-making process

    Family-controlled firms consist of most of French business enterprises. In general, the organization structure of French company are pretty simple, there are less administrative levels compared to other country. They value individual power rather than group strategic decision. ? Concept of time

    Being strict to others and relatively casual to themselves is a characteristic of French people’s concept of time. If someone shows up late, no matter how, he will receive cold shoulders. But for themselves, they would naturally find an excuse.

    ? Attitude towards contract

    French business men are creditable, once the contract is signed, they would meet their engagement well for most of the time. In terms of the language of the contract, French would insist using their own language to show their respect for the country.

5.Communicating style of Germans

    ? Way of communication

    In spite of Germans’ conservativeness, they are exceptionally vigorous and straightforward in business. Germans are extremely careful and meticulous about every detail when make decisions and they always try to pursue perfection. They never do things without preparation, and that enables them to grab the initiative in business negotiation. Germans are very logical and systematic as well. But their persistence of their views results in a lack of flexibility.? Decision-making process

    Germans value personal capability greatly. Personal opinions and actions normally will have a great influence on commercial activities. Companies and business enterprises are well disciplined and in strict order, and decisions are usually made from top to bottom. Germans don’t like decentralization of authority or collective responsibility.

    ? Concept of time

    No matter in formal or personal occasions, Germans are extremely punctual. They will show their disrespect and distrust to anyone who showed up late when doing business. In Europe, Germans have the longest working hour; they start before 8 and finish a day’s work after 8.? Attitude towards contract

    Germans are famous for their respect towards contract or agreement. Before signing a contract, they would go over every detail in it and make sure the rights and obligations of both sides are clear and definite. Germans will meticulously attentive to their obligations in a contract, so that they are especially honest and reliable. Meanwhile, they are strict to the other party as well.6.Communication style of Japanese

    ? Way of communication

    Japanese are fond of reputation, therefore they do not want to lose face in any occasion. In business negotiation, Japanese would spend every effort to avoid conflicts in public; instead they would use a relatively mild and indirect way to communicate. Even though for most of the time their expressions are clear, but in some cases, responses that sound positive are actually negative answers. Sometimes this way of communication will mislead the other party. In the business circle of Japan, etiquette is of great importance. They would love presents or banquet as an effective ways of expressing gratitude.

    ? Decision-making process

    In the decision-making process of a Japanese business organization, every member in the group will find themselves greatly involved. The power of group discussion is a significant part in the whole process.

    ? Concept of time

    Recognition before strategic decision is a main characteristic in the decision-making process of Japanese. Thus it costs more time to make up their mind. So, when negotiating with Japanese business men, if you rush for a quick result, the result won’t be satisfied at all. ? Attitude towards contract

    Japanese business men have their own set of rules and principles, so in their mind, the trust between both sides is the most important thing in commercial activities, and sometimes it’s unnecessary to sign a detailed contract on paper. They highly depend on oral contract. The written contract will be used only when they get into disputes.

    The above are different communication styles of several major international trading countries. When doing business with people from another culture, we should know their culture very well and fully understand the cultural differences so as to show respect to them and successfully deal with it.

    References ListrdJanting, F. (2011). Business Negotiation (3 ed.). Dongbei University of Finance & Economics Press.

    Yuan, L. (2006). International Business Negotiation. University of International Business and Economics Press.

    Jeffery, E. C. (2002). International Negotiating--Planning and Conducting International

    Commercial Negotiations.

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