The impressions you make as a visiting business can be the deciding factor in whether or not the business relationship will thrive. A few simple etiquette tips can help make your business trip not only easier, but also more effective.
When you go abroad you’re going to experience new cultures, people, food, music and probably a new language. All of the newness combined with the lack of things and people that you are familiar with might cause you to have some anxiety. This type of anxiety is called cultural shock. Expect to experience some degree of cultural shock.
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Don’t be shy! Make an effort to learn the language
This will help you to increase your communication skills and get to know people in your new environment. It might be difficult at first, but as you learn the language, you will become more confident and understand your surroundings better. Also joining a language class is one of the best ways to make new friends!
Use clients’ formal titles
You should call your clients by their title and last name unless specifically invited to use their first names.
Mind your manners
What is polite in one culture may not be considered so in another, so know your manners for the countries you visit.
Learn the native tongue
Business associates will appreciate any sincere attempt. Study the language or hire a translator, especially if the persons you are meeting with do not speak English or are uncomfortable speaking it.
Learn a bit about the culture you’re travelling to
The more you know the more in control you’ll feel. A lot of culture shock is not knowing what is going on and getting really fed up with that status.
Determine in advance whether a culture is inclined to be more casual or formal in their general communication and business style.
Learn a few choice phrases
It can be worth picking up a few phrases that convey gratitude. There are now mobile apps that make this a lot easier.
Depending on where you’re going, gifts in business may be expected in some countries (Japan), and could be considered a bribe in others (China). In many countries, it is also polite to give small gifts when meeting someone, but avoid giving overly expensive gifts that may make someone feel awkward if they don’t reciprocate.
Before visiting any country, it’s important to do your homework. Pick up a few travel guides specific to your destination and make sure they have a section on business travel.