Turning a cultural boundary into a launchpad

International expansion is exciting for anyone but it can also act a learning curve for your business. One misplaced word, hand gesture, or even inaction can deeply insult your overseas customer or partner.

Before you travel overseas for business, it’s smart to know a little something about the culture, especially business culture. When to shake hands, make eye contact, bring a gift, compliment your host’s food, can all sink a business deal if done incorrectly…or not at all. Knowing the nuances within the cultural differences can literally make all the difference to winning that big overseas contract.

The following tips on what to do and what to avoid will help you engage in successful global business and social interactions. They will help to avoid embarrassing faux pas and guide you toward establishing quality relationships and friendships.

Know how to address people

The practice of using first names, surnames, titles, university degrees, or religious designations varies from country to country, so learn what is appropriate. Business cards In some Asian countries, when the exchange of business cards is deemed quite important, in Japan for example, putting a card face down or writing on it is very rude.

Bearer of gifts

In some markets, it is expected of the visiting business partner to bring a small gift of sorts to their host.

Accepting a Drink

Do not turn down an offer of vodka by a business associate in Russia, or in some parts of east Asia, that is a sure way to spoil your relationship as it would be considered highly offensive. So drink up!

Turn and face the strange

Newable have been helping companies export for years and we have collated some of our clients best advice into short videos to serve as mini lessons for any businesses looking to export.

Rezonence is one such company, and Rupert Harrow talks about his experience of exporting overseas.

“I’ve spent twenty years in Asia and I think there’s the most marked differences there that I’ve seen and fallen foul of.”

For more support, visit lifelessons.newable.co.uk