When meeting international people, it is important to respect each other’s culture. The same is true in business. Not respecting another person’s business culture risks social awkwardness or inadvertently insulting people. Europa Trust Company Limited flies you around the world in our newsletter, to help you avoid uncomfortable cultural business situations and asks the question, “How is your international business culture etiquette?”
As the business world became more internationally connected, it was discovered that business is strongly linked to culture, beliefs, and traditions. Respect and being aware of another’s culture is important when securing new business. If one does not understand or respect another culture it is quite possible to offend and insult your potential client. We summarise five business cultures from five countries to help you avoid awkward encounters on your next international encounter.
Chinese boardroom meetings are very formal. In meetings one always addresses clients by their surname and business title. It is important to also remember that Chinese names are opposite to the West, with the surname coming first.
2. The Yap Island Group
The official currency in the Yap Island group of Micronesia is stone. This stone money is known as “Rai”. Even though the US dollar can be used on the island, the stone currency is used for important transactions such as marriage, purchases of land or compensation in cases of wrongdoing.
In Finland, many business meetings take place naked in a sauna. It is believed that in this state of naturalism, trust can be built in meetings between business partners, as being naked promotes a sense of being equal and honest. Companies in Finland routinely book an annual “sauna party” for their staff as team-building events.
When receiving a business card in Japan, special care must be taken. The receiver must use both hands to receive the business card and take time to “study” the card very carefully to avoid insulting the person giving their card.
In Morocco, the price of almost everything is negotiable. Debating the price of an item to purchase is a social interaction. Good skills at haggling the price can earn one respect. So, be prepared to make time for debating and negotiating for all services and goods prices.
Business is strongly linked to culture. We hope that our short flight around the world with our newsletter can help you avoid awkward business encounters. Good luck, and bon voyage!
How is your international business etiquette? We would love to hear from you. Please reply, the best comments may be shared.
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