Deal first or Dine first? 

 

In other words: In international meetings, should you talk about the proposition first or should you first get to know each other?

 

In Western Europe, North America and Australia, we all grew up in Individualist societies. Since the Renaissance, it is important to have a personal opinion: "I think, therefore I am" (Descartes).

In business terms, the task is more important than the personal relationship that two parties have. We are used to negotiate the deal first.

 

The societies in most countries in Asia, Africa and South Africa are Collectivist. The specific in-group has great influence on decision-making, opinions and preferences. Communication is more implicit to reduce the risk of misunderstandings and embarrasment ("loosing face").

In business terms, the relationship is more important than the task. In these cultures, you should dine first and build common trust.

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