The French Negotiator
In the text under the headline “The French Negotiator”, author describes the negotiation analysis and principles for effective French negotiation. He also describes common obstacles to negotiation and discusses ways to overcome them.
The author notes, that French negotiators have impressive intellectual abilities, a very high level of general culture and broad academic horizons. They are often very political and like to take a global approach. They are also extremely creative - full of wild plans and lots of ideas - a very positive quality.
The author identify French negotiators belong to a class by themselves. Furthermore they are extremely nationalistic, always striving for a French solution. They give the impression during negotiations that they are fighting for France - they seem conscious of this, proud of it and very good at it. This arrogance and self-centeredness can conceal the positive aspect of the message they are trying to communicate and thus impede the development of a good business relationship, which is, of course, a shame.
Talking about the French negotiation style and content author points out, that they clearly enjoy debate and tend to regard the negotiation process as an intellectual challenge: something to be won. The French are excellent communicators, good at persuading. They use it all, verbal and non-verbal; it is almost theatre. They think quickly, are well educated and have ability for long discussions.
The author is emphasizing, that level of education along with family background and wealth determine status in France. Graduates of the select Grandes Ecoles hold high positions in government and industry. Concentration at the centre and a unique power command are two traditional elements of organizations. French bosses tend to run their companies in an authoritarian style. They are expected to be highly competent and to know the answer to virtually every question that arises.
Talking about attitude towards time and discipline the author notes, that the French are "polychronic", their concept of time is three-dimensional and works simultaneously on many levels. Visitors are expected to be roughly on time for business meetings, particularly if they are selling. The French, along with many of their Latin counterparts, have no idea of time management. No agenda, no planning - they often let themselves be interrupted by telephone calls during the meeting - and on top of all that they seem to have no respect for working hours. The time allocated to negotiations and meetings is never sufficient.
Then author provides information about language and misunderstandings. The language of business is French, despite the fact that so many French business people speak English well. He argues while foreign buyers can get by with English or German, export marketers are usually expected to speak French.
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