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An entrepreneurial development bank specialized in providing capital to mid-sized businesses in Asia, Africa, and Latin America contacted us with the request for a cross-cultural negotiation skills training for their consultants and controllers. Earlier seminars had been disappointing: They had provided information on cultural factors without connecting the information to the negotiation issues consultants had encountered when negotiating with partners in those regions. Neither had their consultants become more competent cross-cultural negotiators by participating in those earlier programs.

IBI's experience supported the development bank by bringing together three core competences: IBI has in-house expertise both on negotiation skills trainings and cross-cultural trainings. We have integrated this expertise to design a program that helped participants to both develop their negotiation skills, and to understand the cross-cultural aspects of the overall negotiation process.

In preparing the program, we conducted interviews with the client to identify three scenarios their consultants typically encounter in their cross-cultural negotiations. We re-wrote the scenarios into case studies to be used during the program, so that they would build up on each other in terms of the complexity of the negotiations faced by consultants. The cases have now been used successfully to train people in managing important phases of the negotiation process more effectively.

In addition, they have also been used to show how the consultants can work together as a team when confronted with complex negotiations, and with different expectations of parties about how the negotiation process should be shaped.

Using IBI's Intercultural Readiness Check, we assessed participants' existing intercultural competences in order to predict which parts of the negotiation process they could easily deal with; and to identify which competences still needed to be developed in order for them to fully control the whole process. In the resulting two-day training, participants enacted their real-life cases while being video-taped; the resulting debrief provided each participant with extensive feedback on their cross-cultural negotiation behaviours - strengths and pitfalls - based on how well they performed in cases that directly reflect their everyday business.

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