Many deals, especially those involving business travels, require more than your current skills for meeting daily targets! Having a biz trip – or more – can be a great resume booster and offer you opportunity to build PR, gain cultural insight into another company’s way of conducting business and their people-skills besides bringing in the moolah to yours!
Some important pointers for essential business travel etiquette that you need to keep in mind so you can conduct business – and yourself – in the right manner are given below: –
Be aware that some cultures are comfortable with quick cocktail or coffee bar settings; others prefer a sit-down meal and get down to business only after getting to know your company’s philosophy through relaxed conversation. Conduct your business meetings in accordance with the country’s traditional or modern mindsets, whichever applies.
For example, in Mexico, a scheduled conference time is usually an approximation of when people will meet and an hour or two off that wouldn’t be considered tardy (much like in India) with most people not even getting offended at having been lax. However, Japan is different when it comes to punctuality: in fact, when dealing with businesspersons there, if you are 15 minutes early, they’d appreciate it.
In China, remember to refer to the person’s surname e.g. Mr. Lee rather than James Lee and if the associate has a title (such as Director or Chairman), precede the surname with this.
When handed a business card, take a cursory glance and keep it in your shirt pocket or organizer – never in your back pocket, which may be considered disrespectful.
In France, don’t mix business with dining and keep to the use of family name during conversations.
Italians, like Indians, love offering seconds at a meal; do not refuse and beginning the meeting with some small talk is considered gracious, so indulge in some friendly conversation before getting down to business matters.
As long as you remember that as a foreigner you are expected to adapt to the ways of the country and try sincerely to do so, you will be welcomed and win respect for your own country – and company, so keep the above preparatory research in mind and seal the deal confidently!