Recognizing differences in international business practices and differences between cultures throughout the world is part of doing business globally. If you don’t take the time to research things, then you may very well offend or risk future business opportunities. Here are six things you should be aware of in regards to doing business cross-borders.
Six International Business Practices To Know
1. You must be in tune to different cultures and the way that they handle cultural traditions
When you are entering into a global business place, there are many things to consider. If you look at somebody the wrong way, offer an inappropriate greeting, or don’t follow the local customs you may be considered to be quite rude. This could cost you the business opportunity and put you into a bad spot for future business. It is therefore wise to know the customs and the culture of the country that you are doing business within.
2. In many European countries, a proper business greeting may involve a kiss on the cheek or a hug
This can be a culture shock for those that are used to just shaking hands. If however you enter into a business meeting and don’t accept or return this greeting, you may very well be considered to be rude.
3. In Italy and some other cultures, the way that you dress shows your social status and position within a company
We all know that dressing professionally is important, but this takes it to a whole new level. If you don’t dress to your status, then you may not be taken seriously in a meeting. You should research this in advance and know who exactly you are meeting with so that you can truly dress the part.
4. Many business practices in a country like Venezuela are based on their religious beliefs
This is a country and area of the world that is very proud of their religious beliefs. They therefore embed them into the way that they live their lives and the way that they handle their business practices. It is wise to understand what their religious beliefs are, in this case Roman Catholic. It doesn’t mean that you have to share the beliefs, but you must respect them.
5. In Australia, they may be offended if you try to speak as they do
If you go into a meeting and try to say something like “G’Day” or “mate” they will see this as you making fun of them. They fully expect that when you come in from a different part of the world that you will speak differently. They therefore want you to just be yourself to be accepted.
6. Many women in South Africa may not shake hands in meetings but simply nod their heads as a greeting
This is just part of their culture that women at a certain level or status do not offer their hands. They don’t shake hands and a head nod here is just as acceptable as any other type of greeting.
Knowing and understanding the cultures that you are going to operate in is vital to your success. If you want to be successful then this is all a part of doing business globally.
Mary Frederick likes to write about scholarship and financial aid information available for students pursuing their masters international business degree.