Business travel. They serve the acquisition of new customers, to cultivate already existing business relations or the personal exchange in joint projects. No matter what destination you are pursuing with your business trip: To be out on business abroad, that means to respect and to follow the local rules, which differs in countries and cultures. Given that you represent your employer or your own enterprise, every detail of the meeting counts.
We did some research and arranged some (at times country-specific) rules:
- First impression. A well-researched phenomenon. This moment decides on sympathy or antipathy. You represent an organization/enterprise/your employer. Don’t forget to give your counterpart attentiveness, to be polite and reluctant.
- Address of welcome and form of address. The salutation is following a special order. First comes the first in rank. Also, it goes without saying to welcome women first. For example, in France it can happen, that after some meetings you will be greeted with a ‘bise’. The, even over the borders of France known, salutary-kisses. Their number depends on the region. From two, over seven or even nine, everything is possible.
- Commonly it is advisable to be informed on local hierarchy and political systems. If it comes to business smalltalk, and your counterpart directs the conversation on political topics, you should be informed. Attention: don’t tempt to give a political statement. You are representing your company. Instead, try to get some important information of your counterpart without getting to personal.
- Punctuality. It’s said about the Germans that they take it serious with being on time. In the big cities of the USA a delay of 15 or 20 minutes is acceptable. Whereas in South American countries a ‘delay’ of 45 minutes or more is normal.
- Dress code. While in the office in Germany you can do without a tie, it belongs to the dress code in the USA and is expected in combination with suite. For women in the USA the costume is still the standard, and it should cover the knees.
As you can see, there are a few things to consider. With precise preparation and with a special degree of reservation and politeness there is nothing to worry about your next business trip in foreign countries.
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