How you present yourself to others in the business world speaks volumes, and easily can be the most intimidating part of any job. And when you’re travelling internationally, people often form first impressions about you, the company, and country you represent within seconds of meeting you. This is why it’s necessary to ensure that you interact well with others to enhance your brand.
Developing relationships is the key to developing business internally and externally, as well as making positive, lasting impressions on a global level.
With this in mind, here are 4 tips for better business etiquette abroad:
1. Learn the language of key and polite sayings. I’ve always found phrases such as “Hello,” “Please,” and “Thank you” a great start. Wherever I have traveled, making this effort (and not expecting everyone to speak English) has always been pleasing to my host. It is also pleasing to hotel and restaurant staffs who will remember you when you return.
2. Know, and respect, local customs. Such as dining, tipping, commuting. Never assume anything is “just like home.” You may be very surprised, and run the risk of making an embarrassing error. For instance, did you know that asking for a doggy bag is considered unacceptable behavior in the UK and France?
3. Be up on current events in the host country. It’s always good to be aware of the economic and political environment you are entering. It’s not necessary to comment on local news unless the subject is raised. But, you want to be prepared and knowledgeable in case it is.
4. Act as a guest, because you are. Whenever you travel, this is a great rule of the road. Staying in a foreign country merits the same etiquette as staying in someone’s home. There’s great pride in every culture, and you want to be mindful of that. Just think how you would want people to respect your home.
Remember that, no matter where you are, you are responsible for your behavior. A little common courtesy can go a long way and reap uncommon rewards.
Copyright 2014 Michelle Kerrigan
Business a la Carte is a trademark of Michelle Kerrigan Inc.