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Avoiding the anti-U.S. feeling

By Julie Clothier for CNN

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Leave fears about an anti-U.S. stance out of business deals, says Camp.
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LONDON, England (CNN) -- There is no space in the boardroom for worrying about anti-American sentiment, says a U.S. negotiating coach.

Jim Camp, who wrote the book "Start With No", says businesses won't do themselves any favors if they spend time trying to second-guess the cultural and political opinions of those they are negotiating with.

He said he had not witnessed or spoken to anyone who had experienced any anti-American sentiment -- which has been much talk-about in the media
-- around the negotiating table.

A worldwide annual study of consumer sentiment in May found Diminishing respect for culture and values was putting U.S. brands at greater risk overseas.

But Camp said the negotiating arena appeared to be immune to the affects of this feeling.

He believed this was because the focus when negotiating business agreements was very clear and it was easy for those involved to put aside any prejudices.

For that reason, he said negotiators should always remember the golden rules when striking deals -- regardless of what was going on in politics.

Americans concerned about the anti-U.S. backlash risked overcompensating for this by making a false effort to be sincere, which could see them perceived as "manipulative", he said.

It was much better not to worry about what those they were dealing with might be thinking, and apply the normal rules of negotiation.

The most important thing when making any sort of deal was to enter the negotiating arena by asking the client what they were willing to pay, instead of offering discounts up front, Camp said.

Americans worried about the anti-U.S. feeling might also try to compensate by trying to learn about the culture of the party it was dealing with before they met in person.

This was also a mistake, he said.

"You're better off not to know and to ask what's appropriate and acceptable. That demonstrates respect. It's much better than to going to a cultural class and thinking you know everything," said Camp.

"People love to share cultural differences and nuances with others. It brings down a lot of barriers."

Another mistake was to attempt to be liked by those you are negotiating with, which Americans might be doing more of as a result of the perceived anti-U.S. feeling in business.


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