How to Negotiate Anything with Anyone Anywhere Around the World Summary

Frank L. Acuff

How to Negotiate Anything with Anyone Anywhere Around the World

Business negotiation is hard enough when all of the participants share a common language and culture. Effective international negotiation requires good negotiating skills, plus sensitivity to cultural differences. Acuff means to provide exactly what the title says: a practical guide to getting the best possible deal, whether negotiating in the United States or elsewhere.

So, after arguing for the critical importance of international negotiating skills in today’s world economy, he summarizes the fundamentals of negotiation. He emphasizes the win-win approach, also covering the stages of negotiation, negotiation planning, and deal closing.

To bargain effectively with people from other cultures, you need insight into your own negotiating style, so a section is devoted to how Americans negotiate. It’s important to know the stereotypes other nationalities have of us, as well as typical American habits which can clash with other cultures. Key traits include impatience, direct and open communications, preference for negotiating alone rather than in teams, short-term emphasis, limited experience with other cultures, emphasis on content over the relationships involved in the negotiation, and a legalistic approach. Some common stumbling blocks for American negotiators: taking a win-lose attitude; ignoring cultural gaps; failing to recognize host country negotiating obstacles; being in too much of a hurry; not listening for communication barriers; ignoring relationships and emotions; and using language that is too hard to understand.

The heart of the book lies in its set of Negotiation Primers. For each of forty-one countries, divided into six regions, a four-page report lists practical do’s and don’ts and other information, including a statistical profile, tips on greetings and conversation, pointers on business entertainment and table manners, and a discussion of the business climate for women. Obviously such a brief treatment must be rather cursory—which is true of all of the topics covered in HOW TO NEGOTIATE ANYTHING. The book won’t convert anyone to the virtues of win-win negotiation, or make you an expert on negotiating in the Middle East; but it could help get you up to speed quickly.