Hungarians allow their relationships to be a part of negotiations. From their point of view, both sides bear the responsibility in negotiations for concluding a deal that is equally positive for all. The Hungarian negotiating style is therefore always cooperative.
The actual decision-makers in Hungary often do not sit at the negotiating table right from the start but are represented by their representatives. These representatives have no decision-making power themselves but can still be influential. Exchange participant lists with names, positions and areas of responsibility in advance so that you can better identify who the decision-makers are and who their representatives are.
It may be the case that you will perceive negotiations in Hungary as largely unstructured. In keeping with their communication style, Hungarians will not march in a straight line towards their goal but will proceed in a circular fashion. Individual issues are taken up and dropped several times. Negotiations that have already been dealt with will be reviewed again. Numerous data and facts are taken into account and examined in detail. This can take a while.
You may only perceive your Hungarian counterparts’ reactions at the non-verbal level, as they are often not voiced outright. It is therefore of the utmost importance for the success of negotiations to pay attention to facial expressions and gestures. If the verbal statements and body language of your Hungarian interlocutors do not match, you should definitely give more credence to their body language than to their verbal statements.
Forcing the other party into a corner with negotiation tricks is alien to Hungarian cooperative thinking. Once mutual trust has been damaged, there will often be no way back to the negotiating table in Hungary.
Bargaining is not common either. However, to be friendly and accommodating, you should allow for some room for negotiation.
It is better to suspend difficult negotiations for a while and to move from the conference room to the “white table” – that is, to eat and have a good time together in order to consolidate the relationship before continuing negotiations.
It often takes a long time for a decision to be made after negotiations in Hungary. Always get in touch personally with your Hungarian contacts, to strengthen the relationship level as well as to catapult the matter back to the top of the Hungarian list of priorities.
However, once the decision has been taken, it is binding and is seen as the foundation of long-term cooperation based on mutual trust.