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5 Golden Rules for Negotiating in the UAE

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Despite periods of decline in the global economy in recent years, the UAE’s economy is growing due to its open policy that favors business. To enter this world of huge business opportunities, it is necessary to understand the business style of the UAE and, in particular, rules of negotiation. Doing business in Arab countries might be a difficult task, especially if you do not understand their culture and do not take into account the regulations of negotiation in Dubai.

Rule #1

When negotiating in the UAE, you must first gain the trust of your partner. It is good to show interest in the wellbeing of your partner, their family, favorite sports or hobbies. It is recommended to start a business meeting in the UAE with small talk before starting a conversation on topics related to business.

Rule #2

Respect their religious beliefs and cultural norms. Islam is deeply rooted in the culture of the UAE and constitutes a huge part of everyday personal and business life. When negotiating in Dubai, remember this. Going to a business meeting in the UAE, try to dress in a modest manner. Do not wear short-sleeved outfits, shorts, and other open clothes. This is an important thing not only in the UAE but in the whole region of the Middle East. This rule applies not only to women but also to men, especially if you want to make a good impression. The safest option is to give preference to formal and professional style. The approach of local residents to business meetings in the UAE is quite relaxed. They are often late, and this is important to remember, but it is not recommended to show the same relaxed attitude. People of the Western world are considered to be punctual, and they are expected to arrive on time. At business meetings and negotiations in Dubai, guests are often offered different snacks, tea, and coffee. It is better to take the treat.

Rule #3

Take into account the specifics of conducting a conversation. Both Western people and the representatives of the Arab world prefer a rather carefree style of communication. However, there is a difference in the social model. For example, Europeans are more flexible and open from the point of view of social norms, while Arabs are usually more socially conservative and follow a certain linguistic “ritual.” When it comes to the physical distance between the two interlocutors, Western people tend to be closer to each other when interacting, while Arabs prefer to stay at a distance.

Rule #4

Stick to the “Golden Rules of Business Relations.” It is important to remember some essential points when holding business meetings in the UAE:

  • Be flexible. The ability to adapt and be flexible is very important when negotiating. You should have both a clear strategy and enough flexibility to be ready for concessions without losing your goal;
  • Be consistent and available. Continuous monitoring of business operations in Arab countries is essential to achieve results. This may seem obtrusive and annoying to Westerners, but it’s acceptable for Arabs;
  • Become friends, not just business partners. In a traditional society, such as Arab, family values and friendships are vital. These personal relationships often outweigh commercial ties.

Rule #5

Try to avoid common mistakes in conducting business negotiations. Be prepared to wait a bit. In the UAE, the sense of time is very different from the perception of the Western world. Here everything goes much more slowly. Without understanding this cultural difference and having a tough strategy and short-term goals, you can dramatically reduce your chances of reaching a successful agreement and miss potential benefits.

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