How to negotiate in Nigeria

How to negotiate in Nigeria
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03 Marzo 2017
Categoria: Marketing Internazionale
Paese:  Nigeria

Nigeria has a population of more than 190 million people.

Nigeria’s economy is strong and there are many possibilities to do business in this country but the people of Nigeria are largely unaware of the rules of the western world.

They have their unique understandings and perspectives on how to conduct business so there could be a large gap between business habits of other countries and Nigerians.

Therefore, for doing business in Nigeria it may be better to enter the local market with a well-versed negotiator or consultant.

Nigeria is a very different place for who would like to start working there. The keys to success are adaptability, flexibility, and some cultural knowledge background.
In this article, we will try to explain some useful information; keep it in mind to make your first impression a good one!

General Behaviours

In Nigeria, having a personal relationship with your colleagues and superiors is normal. At first, they spend hours to know each other. In Africa and Asia, the family is an important subject of conversation. Therefore, talking about family and health matters could be the best way to knowing your partner.

During meetings, it is important to be pleasant and agreeable so do not try to rush through this process or impose your own agenda during these initial meetings.
In private meetings, don’t be shocked if they are interrupted by calls, emails, or knocks at the door; Nigerians do a lot of work in teams and managers constantly manage them.

Nigerians prefer the use of Mr. /Mrs. /Ms. and surname so using the first name of your client is not common.

Titles are of utmost importance, too. Many Nigerians will insist on being addressed with full titles at all times. Some occupations are used as titles as well, such as “engineer”.


Greeting processes are very important in Nigeria.

Take time to exchange pleasantries and ask about each other’s well-being. To shake someone’s hand is common; if you are a man greeting a woman, wait for her to extend her hand first.

Remember to shake hands with everybody when you enter a room and go through the obligatory, fairly lengthy introductions with warmth and good grace. Try to greet each person in a group individually, in order of seniority.

This is a common sign of respect, which can also be applied to superiors. It is also appropriate to bow your head when shaking the hand of someone much obviously older than you.

When speaking to superiors and seniors, try to avoid eye contact. In general, Nigerians make much less use of eye contact than members of Western cultures. Insisting on looking others in the eye during a conversation might easily be taken as a sign of rudeness or even aggression.

Business Cards

There is no exact way or time to exchange business cards, but you should always try to accept them with both hands or with your right hand – never with the left.
Always take a moment to examine the business card. Don’t ever write on your business cards; if your details have changed, it’s better to have new cards printed.

Punctuality is valued, but…

Punctuality is valued, but also, due to the erratic traffic conditions, being on time can be quite hard.
Patience is a virtue you will surely need when doing business in Nigeria. It is often wise to schedule important meetings well ahead and to call in the day before to confirm.

Etiquette Tips

Remember that there are a number of different ethnicities, cultures, and religions living side by side in Nigeria. Make sure to ask co-workers about their background in order not to offend anybody by accident.

The “thumbs up” sign, which in Western societies usually denotes that everything is all right, can be very offensive in Nigeria!

The Concept of personal space is almost nonexistent in Nigeria. It is quite normal for people to stand close to you when talking or standing in line. While this may seem unpleasant to some, be tolerant and do not tell people to back off.

Dress smartly when you go to Nigeria. Your relative importance may be judged on your appearance.

Try to avoid using your left hand when handing things to people, drinks, food etc.

A large part of the Nigerian population is Muslim so be aware of Muslim taboos on alcohol, pork, gambling etc.

Fonte: a cura di Exportiamo, di Morvarid Mahmoodabadi,


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