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Negotiations In Russia: Peculiarities, Tactics, Approaches
November 15, 2012 15:56


They say that negotiating is an art, not a science, and there is never one right way to do it successfully. In fact, negotiating is a very serious business for the Russians, as just about everything requires negotiation. Here are some general features that may help foreign business people to achieve better results conducting negotiations in Russia.

Every meeting starts with making an appointment:

- Once an appointment is scheduled, do everything possible to avoid cancellation. 
- It is not unusual to experience delays in responding to requests for information or appointment letters. Often this is just part of the process of coordinating many different people in large organizations. But if you don’t get any answer for a long time, it is better to make a reminding call.
- Business day is usually from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. But as schedules are constantly subject to change, allow plenty of time for each appointment.
- Many people take their vacations at the end of July or during August, so it is better not to schedule a business trip to Russia at this time of year.
- Not many Russian business people speak foreign languages fluently, especially if some knowledge of specific words is required. It is recommended to ask in advance, whether you shall come with an interpreter or not, to avoid the language barriers.

During the discussion:

- Business cards are essential. If possible, ensure that one side is printed in Russian and the other side in English. 
- Generally, when beginning a meeting, the head of the organization opens the discussion, and introductions are made in the order of importance. The hierarchical structure in Russian business practices means that the decision makers higher up have the authority over their subordinates. Showing respect for seniority and recognizing the hierarchical structure is vital for establishing and maintaining strong business relationships here.
- Your Russian colleagues will be delighted if you make the effort to speak even a few sentences of their language.
- The Russians are sometimes very careful about what they say, speaking metaphorically and symbolically. Sometimes they quote famous Russian poems or songs, and it may not be very easy to translate them.

General features and the attitude to the foreign partners:

- The first meeting is usually just a formality, when the credibility of the company is assessed.  
- Many Russian business people are open-minded to new ideas from the foreign business cultures.
- There is a Russian term meaning "connections" or "influences”. It is extremely difficult to do business in Russia without the help from a local.
- The Russians take pleasure in giving and receiving gifts. It is a common practice to exchange souvenirs with the foreign partners.
- The handshake is common, and an eye contact is very important.

Author: Anna Dorozhkina

Tags: Russian business     

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