Travelling overseas for business purposes can be a fantastic adventure, allowing you to explore a new culture, make good contacts, build relationships with your colleagues and if you are lucky, enjoy stress free travel with a Victor private jet. However, conducting business abroad can also lead to situations that are embarrassing or even worse, by acting in a way that is viewed as inappropriate.
To make sure you avoid any cultural faux pas, here is a brief guide on business etiquette abroad.
When preparing to meet business contacts, remember to bring a gift and offer it with both hands – this is a gesture of goodwill in China. It is also considered respectful to allow Chinese hosts to leave first at the end of a meeting. If you will be dining, leave a little food on your plate as finishing all of your food can be seen as impolite and a sign of hunger.
As the seventh most spoken language in the world, you may have colleagues who can converse in French. If you cannot, it is polite when conducting business in France to apologise, so learn basic French phrases in order to convey this. In addition, business lunches here are a long affair, so expect to spend a couple of hours talking over lunch.
Like the UK, handshakes are used when making introductions. However, handshakes in Germany are often accompanied by a nod of the head, which should be returned. When in meetings, always let the oldest member enter first and save any humorous remarks for casual dinners or evening events.
In India, it is considered rude to use the word ‘no’ during discussions. Instead, adopt a positive attitude and swap ‘no’ for phrases such as ‘we will try.’ If going out to eat, never order beef (as cows are sacred in the Hindu faith), and avoid thanking your host as this could actually be perceived as an insult.
Similar to China, it is good business etiquette to offer a gift but it must be beautifully wrapped. Like India, is it considered bad form to say ‘no’ during meetings. It is also deemed rude and disrespectful to show money, so make sure to conceal it in an envelope.
Business etiquette can be tricky, but if you want to make a good impression and build lasting relationships, it is essential that you get it right. Always research your destination in advance and learn small useful phrases to help you portray a professional and respectful image.