The Key to Successful Cross-Cultural Communication

Updated: Jan 30

“Just the relevant details. That’s all that matters.”


That’s my motto about cross-cultural communication and negotiations.


“What about rules for bowing and handling business cards?” you might ask.


Those “nice” and exotic details help create positive first impressions.


They show that you care and have done your homework on Japanese culture.


But would they carry you through each meeting, toward successful negotiations?




I’ve seen well-meaning American executives start meetings with their Japanese partners with a culturally sensitive joke, and then jump immediately into the “big-picture” agenda.


The joke allowed them to break the ice without requiring further cultural knowledge.


But the American side didn’t understand that “culture” went beyond pleasantries and opening lines to a meeting.


“Culture” sneaks in everywhere, from the meeting agenda to pre- and post-meeting activities.


“Culture” informs the how and why of every decision. Things like styles of consensus-building; orders of presentation; perceptions of hierarchy; documentation preferences; and legislative differences.




Do you know which relevant detail will win over your client?


Contact me to learn how to negotiate effectively in a cross-cultural context.


I’m here to help.

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