It is not uncommon to become accustomed to the way business is conducted in the United States. It’s a fair assumption that many young, inexperienced business executives are unaware of international cultures in business. Each country has particular customs and practices. It certainly goes without saying that corporate America has an understanding when it comes to the terms of a standard workweek.
How to Navigate International Business Dealings
As you plan your itinerary, it’s important to note that you can only serve yourself and your clients better by researching the local business customs. Even different cities in the same country can prove to have unique work environments. A quick internet search will produce numerous articles on the culture of your host country or city. If you are embarking on an international business trip, it’s important to remember these tips to assist in the success of your endeavors:
- Avoid insulting your host by greeting them inappropriately. In many countries, a handshake may prove a fatal move. For example, the greeting custom in Japan is a slight bow of respect followed by a brief handshake; it shows your host that you highly regard them. It is often customary to exchange business cards afterward.
- Knowing customs ahead of time is a positive reflection of you and your company.
- Don’t stress, an accidental Western faux pas is typically forgiven, but avoid it all cost.
Meetings – Wine and Dine
Luncheon meetings in the United States are typically simple meals that do not involve imbibing wine. However, drinking wine during a lunch meeting internationally is a standard occurrence. If your hosts order a bottle of wine, be courteous by accepting a glass when offered. It would be unbecoming moreover considered rude to decline. It’s not unusual for your host to purchase several bottles of wine or offer you another glass, keep your head, know your limits. Nothing is more embarrassing than being slightly inebriated during a business meeting. Make a note that hard liquor is unacceptable. It’s wise to save the hard liquors for post dinner privately or with your American colleagues.
The Linguistics of Communicating
In many situations, you might feel that your conversation is lost in translation due to the reliance of an interpreter. It’s a fair assumption that in many cases this is a possibility. Consider closing the communication gap by breaking down the barriers of language by learning a new language. Go beyond learning just the basics; learn the etiquette that goes with the language. Impress your hosts by showing off your newfound skills when ordering at the restaurant or greeting them in their native tongue. It may prove helpful in situations beyond the boardroom. There are many in the international corporate world that speak and understand English, considering the efforts you make it will not go unappreciated. Create a lasting impression, go the extra mile when dealing with your International clients. You can never do too much for success.Tags: international business tips, international travel