The Negotiation Waltz

Bargaining takes patience, politeness and preparation

The knot tightens in the Western businessman's stomach as he peers glumly at the Japanese negotiating team across the table. The executive's flight leaves early tomorrow. His home office has been pressing him to complete a deal quickly. But although the talks have dragged on for days, the key issues have barely been discussed. "What is this?" the frustrated businessman wonders. "Don't these people know that time is money?"

Such questions can arise with disquieting force and frequency when Western executives confront the Japanese. Foreigners eager to do business must often endure endless rounds of what seems...

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