What do you do when Strategy Four – ‘Wait leisurely for an exhausted enemy’ which means “to exercise patience and wear them down” is applied on you
- November 01, 2019
- Leonie McKeon
Strategy Four – ‘Wait leisurely for an exhausted enemy’ 以逸待劳 may be used on you when you visit China to conduct a negotiation. A likely scenario is where your Chinese contact picks you up from the airport and on the way to your hotel asks when you are flying out of China. The Western method of business communication is to be precise, and this often means that your natural response is to tell your contact the day and time of your departure. If you answer in the Western way, you can guarantee that the night before you leave China there will be a late night involving too much alcohol, leaving you exhausted because you have told them when you are leaving China.
What do you do when Strategy Four – ‘Wait leisurely for an exhausted enemy’ 以逸待劳 is applied on you
When you arrive in China to conduct a negotiation, your Chinese counterparts will more than likely ask you about your departure time. Even though you will almost certainly have a return ticket with a fixed departure day and time, be vague in your reply to this seemly innocuous question. Strategy Four s a classic Chinese negotiation strategy.
The most effective way to respond to this probe for crucial information is to be imprecise when asked about your departure day and time.
The best response would be to indicate that you have yet to confirm your departure date and time. Persist with this as your response, and the Chinese hosts will understand that you will not tell them when you are leaving. It will not be regarded as rude to not answer absolutely truthfully. It will be seen as part of the way the game of negotiation is played!
Take your time answering these sorts of probing questions, and put some thought into thinking about the strategy that is likely to lay behind the question. It is not necessary for you to answer with complete accuracy. On these occasions imprecision is the correct and safest response.
For more information on the 36 Chinese Strategies read ‘Tame the Tiger – Negotiating from a position of power’ , ‘Deceive the Dragon – Negotiating to retain Power’ and ‘Lure the Tiger – Negotiating in confronting circumstances’. These books contain practical examples of ancient Chinese negotiation strategies (the 36 Chinese Strategies), known to be the essence of Chinese business practices. The books are a great read for people who want to improve their overall negotiation skills, as well as becoming better negotiators so they can play the game of negotiation with their Chinese contacts.
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