5 tips: Dealing with cultures where strong opinions are expressed and people constantly negotiate

Most cultures try to separate between facts and opinions as well as between discussion and negotiation. However, there are many cultures where facts and emotions mix all the time, where discussion and negotiation are intertwined and where very strong opinions are expressed as a matter of course, in all stages of social intercourse.

And, there are other  cultures where there are different rules for insiders and outsiders; the insider group leverages on relationships whilst trading favours and the outsider group needs to play hardball when dealing with insiders.

In both situations, the question arises on how to deal with strong opinions and an atmosphere of constant hardball negotation.

5 tips on how  be more effective in dealing with situations like these:

1) When someone says “No”, choose to hear is “not now”, “not yet” or “test me to see if I mean what I have said.”.

2) If someone raises their voice, listen to the content and try to block out the style-related noise, which can be distracting.

3) Negotiate as well, all the time.  Make ridiculous demands, and then back off. Look at this like a game, or like training a dog to yield.

4) When encountering a very strong opinion that you may want to challenge, try saying “You are wrong”….then explain. This will get the other side’s respect and admiration!

5) Do not follow “process” or protocol, because you will be seen as weak. Process and protocol  do not provide protection  in cultures like these.

Play hardball; people will trust you and respect you more for it.

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