International travel can be nerve wracking for many people. Unless you are an international travel expert, chances are there are a few things that you learned the hard way.
You Never Know Until You Get There
Customs can vary from place to place, even when going from Maine to California. People around the country, and the world, are diverse and that’s what makes us so much fun! Of course, that’s what can make things a bit confusing. For example, a firm handshake is the most common greeting in the majority of countries. However, if you are in United Arab Emirates, this should be done only with the right hand as the left hand is only for handling bodily hygiene. And in Japan, the most common greeting is a bow, though some may offer a handshake; follow their lead.
If you plan on travelling internationally for business, you’ll need to be aware of the 7 most important customs that should be followed for maximum success.
1. Business Card Etiquette
In China and Japan, business cards should be given and taken with both hands. Cards should be in pristine condition. Translations should be included for the following countries: Brazil (Portuguese), India (Hindi), United Arab Emirates (Arabic), Russia (Russian), and Canada (French).
2. Time Will Tell
For Italians, it is not important to be punctual. Expect that there will be a bit of a delay when it comes to meetings. This is not a sign of disrespect, but merely a part of the culture.
3. Dress For Success
When in France, be sure to put your best foot forward. Fashion and style are at a height here, more than any other country around the world. Even those who are entry-level employees wear their best threads. If your business travels bring you here, pack on the formal side and look sharp.
4. Beware Of Space
The British take their personal space very seriously, so standing too close or touching during conversation is a no-no. When speaking, frequent use of polite terms such as “please,” “thank-you,” and “sorry” are well-received.
5. Hands Out
When conducting business in Russia, be sure to keep your hands out of your pockets. Those who dig deep are seen as rude, so just let them hang at your side or put them on the table.
6. Friendly But Direct
In Australia, you’ll find that the conversation is easy going and friendly, which makes for a relaxed meeting. But don’t let yourself fall into a casual pattern. Australians are direct and straightforward and what you say will be taken at face value. It’s not a good place for sarcasm or quips.
7. It’s Not OK
If you head to Brazil for your next meeting, avoid flashing the OK sign with your finger and thumb; this is considered to be a sign of rudeness. This doesn’t mean that Brazilians are stuffy, though. Don’t be surprised if they stand close to you and use physical contact while speaking, as this is customary.
The next time you find yourself booked for international travel, be sure to do a bit of research beforehand to ensure a smooth and pleasant experience for all.
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