How to "Deliver the Bad News" without Offending the Chinese
One of the most common questions I've been asked by western senior executives is: how do I communicate the "bad news" without offending the Chinese? As a high-context culture, the Chinese are generally indirect, non-confrontational and highly value "face". Insufficient preparation to adapt your messaging to the Chinese audience can lead to long-lasting negative effects on business relationships.
- Be clear, be firm and be yourself
- Lead in with context
- Use emotional touch
- Take own responsibility
It is a good idea to acknowledge first that your company takes responsibility for some of the missteps before requesting the Chinese to do better on their part. By doing so, you have simultaneously set a "role model" for your Chinese counterpart, saved their face, and more importantly, convinced them that you are a true partner worth investing in.