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Mastering Business in Asia: Negotiation





Book: Mastering Business in Asia: Negotiation

Author: Peter Nixon

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons (Asia) Pte Ltd, 2005


Leader Values

Although negotiation is a core skill in business, it has been surprisingly neglected by writers. There is a flood of new books on leadership, advertising and human resources, but few on negotiation. Maybe that is why many senior managers often think of negotiation in rather simplistic terms. Too often we just look for a win-win outcome, in which both parties get what they want. If only life was so easy!

Author Peter Nixon has fifteen years experience as a negotiation consultant and trainer in Asia and believes that “negotiation is the most important skill that people can learn”. He stresses the importance of culture, and suggests that Asia’s trading history, plus socio-economic and cultural differences from the West, have produced differences in negotiation styles. Nixon admits that he finds “negotiating in Asia to be more challenging than in other parts of the world” and also warns that “Asian negotiators are among the best in the world”.

But of course, Asia isn’t just one culture. There are many cultures and many bargaining styles across the region. So Mastering Business in Asia: Negotiation isn’t just relevant to negotiations between Westerners and Asians. It is equally relevant to Chinese negotiators wanting to negotiate successfully in Australia, Japan or India.

Nixon emphasises the critical importance of communication in successful negotiating. He also recommends using a variety of tactics and learning to deal with different types of people in different situations. But those are fairly obvious generalisations. The real message of the book lies in the detailed study of the main stages of negotiation – preparation, introduction, objection, creation and contracting.

Useful models are employed to highlight the different goals and tactics relevant to each stage in the negotiation process. The emphasis is on practical help for negotiators, to help them improve the chances of achieving a good outcome. For example, the analysis of the introduction stage of negotiation includes a recommended agenda to start negotiations and suggested ground rules. Nixon’s pithy advice is, “Cover people, process and content – in that order.”

Other sections focus on preparing for negotiations, handling objection and conflict, creating value through synergies, and moving successfully from dialogue to contract. The negotiating tools are conveniently collected together into a “Negotiation Toolkit”, and there are sample negotiation situations to help you hone your negotiating skills.

Overall, Mastering Business in Asia: Negotiation is a useful addition to the literature on negotiation, especially for those working in Asia.

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