All around the world, every single day, thousands of men and women are travelling back and forth to business meetings in other countries. If you’re visiting a new country, or indeed if you’re not entirely sure whether or not your previous international behaviour could have been offensive or not, it’s important to do a little a research on common customs and business conduct.
Acceptable behaviour will differ greatly from country to country and there are many factors to consider. For example, you will need to think about the current social and political climate; are there any topics of discussion that should be avoided and are there any safety restrictions?
Aside from taking into consideration the social and political climate, there are a number of general factors to think about which apply to most countries that you may visit. These include how to greet and address your business associates, how to dress, gifting, time keeping and suitable times to talk business. There are, of course, specific gestures and actions which are unique to certain countries and cultures. These are usually the ones which may cause the most offence so be sure to remember this.
Inappropriate behaviour may not only cause embarrassment and offence, it could cost your company business opportunities, money and even your job; after all you are not only representing yourself, but your boss, colleagues and your company. You may like to think that your business associates will understand if you don’t address them in the appropriate way or use an offensive hand gesture. While they may realise that you are simply unaware, they may also take it as a lack of respect in failing to learn a little about their culture and customs.
With some help from Cyborlink, we’ve put together this infographic of the business customs and culture of 7 countries around the world.