Business Travel Tips – Save Yourself From Embarrassing Situations
Doing business overseas can be a challenging task for a number of reasons including: the language barriers, differences in customs, social etiquette and exotic foods. Business meetings with foreigners can be particularly sensitive as many countries practice different forms of business etiquette vastly different to what you would consider the norm.
Before you go away on your trip it is a good idea to do research on the country that you are going to. Try to learn a few common phrases and focus on general greetings, thank-you’s and a few business related phrases. Try to find out what the main social differences are between your customs, so that you do not make any embarrassing mistakes. You should also look up if there will be any religious or public holidays over the period that you are traveling as they may not operate over these periods.
Several countries also operate according to different week days and do not necessarily follow the Westernized Monday to Friday work week. In some countries, women are not treated as equals. If you are a woman traveling to one of these countries you should make sure that you dress appropriately and conservatively and pay particular attention to specific behavioural requirements.
Certain countries, such as Germany, pay particular attention to punctuality and being late can be viewed as highly unprofessional. On the other hand, in many Middle Eastern and African countries, meetings are more laid back, taking on a leisurely pace.
In most countries nowadays it is customary to produce a business card upon the first initial meeting as a standard formality. In Far Eastern countries greetings and customs should be particularly to pay attention to. Koreans tend to bow in greeting, while the Chinese clap. The titles of certain people should also be noted. This is mainly predominant amongst the African and Middle Eastern countries.
Doing a little research before you travel will help you to save yourself from entering some potentially embarrassing situations. This research will also help achieve the aims of your business trip as your knowledge of the specific customs will show respect, which will be much appreciated and will no doubt work in your favour.