When it comes to international business, the one thing you need to remember is that you will be dealing with new cultures or with people from other cultures. While your focus is always on getting the job done, knowing a little international business etiquette is going to go a long way.
So here are some things you should know about international business before you negotiate:
Always have your business card with you.
Your business card contains everything about you and the international business you are running. Hence, at an introduction, it is only appropriate to present a card. Not only is it a viable way of advertising your services, it also shows your willingness to do business.
Tailor your business style with the culture you’re dealing with.
As previously mentioned, dealing with different cultures is an unavoidable consequence of international business. As such, you need to conform your business style to that of the business organization or company you are dealing with. Sometimes, the direct approach will work best.
For instance, Australians are more responsive to straightforward presentations as their culture has taught them to value directness, with emphasis on both the positive and negative outcomes. However, the same cannot be said of Chinese business people who largely rely on subjective feelings and personal experiences in forming opinions and solving problems rather empirical evidences.
As an international business, keep in mind that the differences in culture will often call for different business approaches.
Dress to succeed.
No matter what country you are dealing with, the general rule in business attire is to wear tasteful clothing that is neither too flashy nor too casual. Some businesses may allow casual wear. However, when in doubt, it is best to err on the formal side.
For women, the standard attire may be business suits or dresses. Conservative is the name of the game. Pantsuits, in classic styles, are also acceptable. Pay attention to where the business meeting is set. Rural areas or small towns tend to favor less formal business clothes.
Having a contact set up a meeting for you will help you get an appointment. Key decision makers in businesses are often hard to reach without the right connections. But some business cultures would prefer personal relationship to the superficial business entries.
Of course, being on time for appointments is a sign of good manners and respect you afford the person you are meeting with. Therefore, punctuality should always be a priority. This applies even if the person you are meeting with shows up a little late.
There are some countries that prefer mornings as appropriate times to set up appointments. But take note of some other countries like the Philippines and Mexico that consider mid mornings to mid afternoons as proper times for meetings.