Manual for Azerbaijan companies Rena Safaralieva

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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 

discussions and business conferences can bewilder an Englishman, embarrass a German and 

infuriate an Azeri.   


A business discussion is a special form of debate, requiring strong self-control. It is important to 

follow rules for speaking. Firstly, be calm and avoid raising your tone. Even if you are forced 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 

to your listener. A speaker shall select language means with regards to the audience and the situation 

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.


 Secondly, try 

to abstain from interrupting, even if the speech evokes your indignation or a stroke of genius has just 

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 

information received and draw relevant conclusions. It is important to analyze your opponent’s point 

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.  


Invitation to a dinner or reception 


Organization of a breakfast or dinner begins with compilation of a list if invitees and sending out 

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  


 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 

informal events.    


If guests are supposed to sit at the table, it is recommended to prepare a table outline in advance. 

Location of guests at a table requires recognition of their office position or social status. Leaders of 

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 

the side wall, places at the side of the table near the wall overlooking onto the street. The places to the 

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.  


Table manners 


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 

or leaning against a seat back is considered to be bad manners. However, this is exactly what 

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 

dish. Use of the simple past tense instead of the present perfect (Have you had enough?) the 

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 

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