The customs vary from country to country, but it is important to be fully informed in advance so that the business meeting does not become a flop. We give you a small overview of the most important ‘Dos’ and ‘Don’ts’. But there are two points in advance, regardless of the country in which it leads. Familiarize yourself with the language of the country before your business trip and try local dishes that are served to you. These are both forms of courtesy that will make you feel sympathetic to your business partners.
Be open to other cultures!
Also the welcome phrases vary from country to country. The welcome is also usually the first personal contact with the business partner and therefore of great importance. Scandinavia: Shake hands and introduce yourself in full name
Great Britain: a one-time handshake
China: A handshake (the women are not greeted here first!)
Arab countries: The Arabs greet each other with kisses, but this is not necessarily the case with business partners. Wait for the greeting of the business partner.
USA: A handshake at the first meeting
The correct salutation of the negotiating partner also plays an important role. In some countries, much emphasis is placed on the titles and so it is quickly considered rude if they are ignored or misnamed.
Scandinavia: If you do not speak the language in the local language, select the English form.
Great Britain: Here the gentlemen are addressed with “Mister” and the women with “Misses” and last name. The formerly common “Miss” for unmarried women is no longer used in the business world
today. Often it is common in the UK that is addressed in later contact with the first name.
China: Even in China, the English salutation is tolerated. For written addresses the last name is always
Arab Countries: Here you should pay particular attention that you address the business partner with the right title. Otherwise, the English salutation is also possible here.
USA: Again, the salutations are “Mister” and “Misses”, followed by the surname. If you do not know the last name, talk to your business partner as “Sir” or “Madam”. Similar to the United Kingdom, the United States is often used after some time. However, wait until your counterpart offers you the “you”.
In Europe, women have the same status in the world of work as men. But this too varies from country to country. So it is also the case that the dress code is more conservative in some countries. Also keep in
mind that office clothing still largely depends on the clothes that are appropriate for business appointments and meetings.
Scandinavia: Here is the dress code classic, but not too formal.
Great Britain: Here, too, formal clothing is emphasized.
China: In contrast, the dress code in China is rather relaxed.
USA: In the US, the dress code is pretty strict and conservative. Here it is important to show little skin.
Arab countries: Again, a very formal style of clothing applies. The women should refrain from figure- hugging clothing and take care that they do not show too much skin.
Depending on which country you are traveling, there are also certain taboo topics and behaviors that you should refrain from doing during your business meeting, in addition to various welcome phrases.
Scandinavia: Here are the taboo topics of whaling and the EU.
Great Britain: One of the taboos in the UK is humorlessness as well as criticism of the royal family.
China: Here you should refrain from talking about the Chinese revolution and kissing in public.
USA: There are far more taboos in the US. Among other things, alcohol abuse and smoking are not welcome here. Also topics like the criticism of the president and sexuality are among the absolute no- go’s.
Arab countries: The taboos in other countries include criticism of the dynasty and Islam and alcoholic favors. In addition, you should know that you should not take food in the left hand.
What else do I need to keep in mind?
There are also different ways of looking at punctuality in different countries. Punctuality is a priority in some countries, but in other countries it is common to be late. In the United Kingdom, the United States and China, for example, great emphasis is placed on punctuality, but in France, if you arrive a quarter of an hour late, you are still on time.
With these tips, you should now be well prepared for your next business trip without unpleasant situations and embarrassments.