By Gábor Holch
Should we be afraid of lasting silence in intercultural negotiations? Will Sun Tsu’s ancient manual The Art of War help negotiators get great deals with China? Most importantly, does culture play a role in international negotiations at all?
This podcast interview with former BASF China President, former EU Chamber China President and 35-year China veteran Jörg Wuttke is a 25-minute masterclass in international negotiations in culturally challenging circumstances. In his long career in China, Wuttke co-negotiated multibillion dollar deals, rubbed shoulders with Chinese Premiers, mayors, and billionaires, and helped multinational CEOs with the basics of business in the world’s second largest, but still significantly obscure and challenging market.
Although the MERICS (The Mercator Institute for China Studies ) podcasts can be a bit too technical for the audience with limited exposure to China and its politics and macroeconomics (and quite addictive otherwise) the MERICS interview with Wuttke makes this complex topic accessible to all providing them with easily digestible soundbites that will serve them well in negotiations for a long time, even if they never set foot in China.
Original description by MERICS: When entering a negotiation in China, one should go in as a mouse rather than a lion, says Jörg Wuttke. With more than 25 years of experience as Chief Representative of the German chemicals company BASF in Beijing, he certainly knows what he is talking about. In this conversation with MERICS Director Communications and Publications Claudia Wessling, the former President of the European Chamber of Commerce in China shares intriguing stories about learning Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” in negotiations stretching over nearly 200 rounds. He also explains why sometimes enduring silence might be the best approach. And he reveals who he thinks was the most authentic politician to negotiate with Beijing.