Personal relations boost business negotiations

Washington: Personal relations and good communication are vital ‘soft skills’ that result in successful business negotiations, according to a new doctoral thesis.

“A business negotiation refers to a long-lasting relation with a business contact; it is not a mere meeting where two parties sit down and negotiate a business deal. This implies that long term commitment and social competence are critical to success,” said Ellinor Torsein, researcher at the School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg.

Torsein examined how businessmen consciously adapt to the ways of their counterparts in an effort to reduce the cultural distance. She chose Norway and Spain – one country considered to be culturally similar to Sweden and one that is generally seen as more different.

“Contrary to the stereotype, the Spanish were for example seen as very punctual. According to the interviewees, the two cultures differ mostly in terms of communication. For example, the Norwegians were perceived as more quiet,” says Torsein.

Her studies were complemented by other researchers, who said that communication and personal relations are vital to successful negotiations and may even develop into true friendship.

“One thing the interviewed individuals have in common is that to form successful relationships, they focus on similarities rather than on differences. They look at and treat their counterparts as individuals,” she added.



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