However, a compromise shall not be viewed as panacea against all impasses. A compromise can be
defined as something interim between what you strived to ideally achieve and the minimum gain
worth the effort.
Negotiation etiquette norms
It is believed that during a discussion people should sit freely and upright, and not lean against a seat-
back, refrain from drawing on a piece of paper or fiddling with a pen.
An American habit of sprawling out in an armchair showing the soles of their shoes during
infuriate an Azeri.
A business discussion is a special form of debate, requiring strong self-control. It is important to
rebuff your opponent, calm speech and self-composure will produce a much better impression than
impetuosity and a vexed tone. We would recommend to avoid direct negative assessments and abstain
from sharp judgments. Secondly, a speaker shall remember that people have only a limited ability to
concentrate on the spoken word. Hence, it is recommended to use brief phrases and make reasonable
Also it is useful to resort to other means to attract attention in addition to pauses: for instance, appeal
as a whole. Thirdly, it is important to speak slowly and in a simple language, especially if you are
talking through an interpreter during international negotiations. And at last, but not least, we suggest a
quotation from Cicero: «No one should look upon conversation as his own private main and oust the
other party out, on the contrary everybody has to be given his turn in a discussion”
Rules for listeners are no less important. An ability to listen is formed in the process of
communication. The main objective of a listener is to conceive information, rather than produce a
good impression on an interlocutor. In business circles people are apt to make mistakes because are
unaware of the recommendations of communications experts. Firstly, if someone is talking to you, it
is advised to stop whatever you might be doing and concentrate on listening to the information.
Business etiquette has a rule to give priority to listening before all other types of activities. When
listening, it is necessary to treat your interlocutor amicably, respectfully and patiently.
struck you and you have something very important to say. Thirdly, if there are many listeners, do not
respond to a speech which is not addressed to you.
Rules of perception of information heard are no less important. Firstly, try to critically analyze the
in addition to grasping the meaning and content of his or her speech. Secondly, we recommend to
abstain from thinking over your next question and, moreover, preparing countering arguments in the
process of listening, but rather concentrate on the issue being discussed.
invitations. In Western countries, invitations might be sent out several months in advance, with 7-10
days being accepted as a minimum short notice. In some cases organizers may request for
confirmation of attendance. Therefore, an invitation might have R.S.V.P. letters at the right bottom
corner, which is an abbreviation from French expression «respondez s’il-vous plait» or «please
Ibidem, p. 159
Many invitations will also have a reference to a dress code: full dress (a tuxedo with a bow tie for
gentlemen and a long evening gown for ladies); cocktail party dress (a suit with a tie for gentlemen
and a regular length evening dress for ladies); formal dress code (a business suit) and casual style for
If guests are supposed to sit at the table, it is recommended to prepare a table outline in advance.
delegations and businessmen are known to have left receptions if they believed that they were given
less honorary place than they thought appropriate and to have complained of disrespect to media.
Honorary places at a table are considered to be: a place opposite the front door, and if the door is at
right and left of the head of the host delegation are considered to be, respectively, the first and the
second most honorary places. Places at the corner of a table are considered to be the least honorary, so
it is not recommended to offer them to guests, especially, ladies. If need be, these places shall be
occupied by employees of the host party. If a breakfast or lunch is combined with bilateral business
discussion, is possible to have two delegations sit at the opposite sides of a table with heads of
delegations placed in the middle.
Rabbit “Are you leaving already”?
Winnie the Pooh: “Why? Is anything left?
The British believe that people shall not put elbows on a table, but rather their hands. Sprawling out
Americans and Mexicans do, while keeping hands under a table is prohibited. This tradition,
probably, dates back to the times when one could get easily get shot in a saloon.
Many British are shocked when they hear from their U.S. host “Did you get enough?” after a first
British interpret as “you will be served no more food.” Americans usually are offering you to
help yourself, so do not worry and say “I’d like some more!
Norms of etiquette prescribe how to use forks and knives at meal, but Americans, for example, do not
eat with a knife in hand. Firstly, they use a knife to cut off a piece of meat with their right hand
helping with a fork in the left hand, secondly, put a knife on the table and eat with the help of a fork
with their right hand. Most probably, at the Wild West it was too dangerous to sit next to somebody
with a knife in hand. The French manner to soak a roll in coffee or sauce is well known, while
Japanese might consider such manners not quite civilized.
“The East is a delicate matter!”
In our country some dishes (kebab, kutab and others) are known to be eaten by hands. If you share a
meal with foreigners, we would suggest warn your guests in advance. In Europe people eat fowl with
hands, but may not guess to apply the same principle to kutabs. An Arabic meal is a genuine
ceremony. In Moslem countries people are prescribed to eat with their right hands, because the left
hand is considered to be unclean and is meant for dirty tasks, for example, to collect garbage. Eating
a lamb hinder leg with one hand can be an ordeal, especially if it sheds melted fat. A host can treat
you to choicest bits and it would be impolite to take them yourself or refuse the offer. A host can
make balls of rice and offer them to you, but mind not to touch a lamb on the communal plate – this is
the host’s privilege!
The Kyrgyz and Kazakhs preserved an ancient Turkic custom to cut a lamb into 24 pieces, with
R.D. Lewis, Business Cultures in International Business, Moscow, Delo Publishing House, 2001, p. 214
Ibidem, p. 211