International business travel can be complicated enough at the best of times, with flight arrangements, accommodation and connections to arrange, one would hope that the business meetings themselves would take care of themselves. This is not always the case, especially if meeting with businesses professionals from completely different cultures than that of your own. In fact, many business professionals aren’t even aware that business etiquette varies across the globe, and may be committing cultural faux-pas during business meetings.
There are many factors that business professionals could consider ahead of meeting an associate or business partner from a different country; greeting style, how to address others, business card etiquette, communication style, and meeting agenda to name a few. Some business cultures are relaxed in nature, while others are serious or regimented. In order not to offend the people you are meeting, it is important to consider and adapt to how business professionals operate in different parts of the world.
For example in Russia, it is customary to greet business associates with a firm handshake with everyone present, whilst maintaining good eye contact. Business cards are recommended to include a Russian translation as this shows a level of respect and acknowledgement of the Russian culture which could lead to more positive business discussions and negotiations. On the other hand, in a country like Spain for instance, the atmosphere and etiquette of business engagements is more laid back. Face-to-face communication is preferred, in order to build a rapport with the other parties – this often takes the form of getting to know each other on a personal level before a professional one.
In short, if you are looking to have successful and fruitful business dealings with contacts from across the world, it’s crucial to consider and respect how they do business. The following infographic shows you exactly how: