The Consul told the audience that he had been frequently involved in negotiating throughout his career. In Vietnam, he used to negotiate a project on Ho Chi Minh city’s clean air which put him in a situation where he had to call the people in Paris to accept some changes from the Vietnamese party.
Concerning the tips for effective negotiation, Mr. Vincent stressed the importance of good preparation. In the beginning, you have to identify what you really aim to achieve. Find your interests and then translate that into writing the resolutions. He stated that negotiations got stuck sometimes because people went directly into writing which was a challenging task. You also have to be aware of both the parties’ redlines. Do not try to achieve something immediately, but make sure that you and your partner are in a win-win situation.
“Communication is increasingly important in the world as we are more connected”, Mr. Vincent stated. He mentioned that we had to rely on soft power to win the hearts of people. The way we communicate is also changing. We used to depend on newspaper articles and TV interviews, but now we are witnessing the rise of social media. The Consul elaborated that in the US, Twitter and Linkedin are two prevalent yet crucial social channels. It is important that you are careful of what you post on social media as your personal views may create conflicts or misunderstandings.
After the Consul’s sharing, attendees are welcomed to raise their questions.
Q1: “Why did you choose to become a diplomat?”
He answered that he was always interested in other countries. When Mr. Vincent was in France military service, he was offered to travel to Uganda to become a French teacher for 1,5 years. This was the beginning of many trips to other countries where he came to realize that being a diplomat is what he wanted.
“Did you have a choice to come to Vietnam? What is your purpose to come here?”
Mr. Vincent replied that he had 5 choices as first including London and Barcelona. However, Vietnam was always his first choice because of common history between two countries. Vietnam is a young and dynamic nation with many potentials for fruitful developments. Mr. Vincent also mentioned that he received a lot of congratulations from friends when he was appointed to work in Vietnam.
“How do you avoid misunderstandings when you have to talk to people from other different cultures?”
The Consul stressed the importance of sensitiveness to different cultures. For example, in Asia, you have to be careful in your behaviors so that you will not antagonize people. In other countries such as Australia and Netherlands, however, people can be blunt, therefore you have to be well prepared for any situations.
“When we talk about political correctness, which topic in Vietnam was the most difficult to negotiate on?”
Mr. Vincent talked about some projects in which he was involved in Vietnam. The same ones that took few weeks in France may take much longer here. Despite potential frustration, he stated that he had the opportunities to learn to be patient.