Business Etiquette when Traveling Abroad

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Part of the Business Etiquette For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Observe every courtesy when you're on business travel abroad. The social blunders you may commit while working in a culture unlike your own could cost both you and your company business and relationships. If you want your business trip to be as successful as possible, the following business etiquette tips can help:

  • Develop enough awareness of cultural diversity to avoid exposing yourself as a person who may not respect another's culture and customs. Your way isn't necessarily better, and every new experience you have makes you not only a greater asset to your company, but also a better global citizen.

    Before you leave for your destination, brush up on its geography, beliefs, customs, culture, religion, sports, weather, and attitude toward your home country. Remember the adage "When in Rome, do as the Romans do."

  • Before you embark on your trip, practice the greeting rituals or additional key words of the language.

  • Always dress conservatively and appropriately when you're in a foreign land.

  • You can never go wrong using titles and last names when you first meet people. Academic titles often add a great deal of luster. A handshake is practically universal, and worldwide, everyone relates to a smile — which always makes a positive impression.

  • Know the protocol and ritual involved in presenting and receiving a business card. If necessary, prepare business cards in proper languages.

  • Schedule and confirm business meetings before you leave for your trip. Pull together a checklist of action items and send them to your business contact ahead of time. Your checklist should include items such as meeting locations, agendas, equipment for presentations, and meals. If an interpreter is required, make arrangements to have one prior to leaving.

  • Brush up on the country's cuisine and dining etiquette so that you'll be ready to tackle the local food without embarrassing yourself or causing offense.

  • Find out the appropriate etiquette and protocol involved in business gift-giving, especially if you're doing business in the Pacific Rim, where business gift-giving is an integral part of business culture.

  • Watch out for your body language so that you don't make gesture-related mistakes.

  • Don't take rude incidents personally, even if you are pushed and shoved. Practice patience! What may be considered rude in the United States may not be elsewhere in the world.

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Business Etiquette For Dummies Cheat Sheet

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