International Business Etiquette

International Business Etiquette Every Person Should Know

When conducting international business, individuals need to be aware of the business culture of the country they will be working in. This varies by country and can be confusing to many, however, it is of great importance. This is especially true when it comes to business etiquette or the unwritten rules of behavior, as proper etiquette is essential for building trust and developing relationships. Certain rules are followed in most countries, yet others are unique to a particular nation. Learn this information before proceeding to ensure a great relationship from the beginning.

Why Is Etiquette So Important?

Professional success depends in large part on a person’s etiquette. People must be both efficient and respectful if they wish to move forward in their career, yet many individuals now overlook this aspect. Individuals with good etiquette leave a favorable impression, as it shows they respect those they are doing business with and value the professional relationship. As each country differs in this area, however, people need to take the time to learn the similarities and differences before visiting a country or working with international businesses. When a person takes time to do this, they find others are comfortable with them and communications improve. This helps all parties to feel more secure when working together.

Business Etiquette Tips

Turn off devices as sign of respectFirst and foremost, turn off all electronic devices and focus on the individuals present in the room. Using an electronic device prevents the development of the relationship and is disrespectful to the other person. Individuals may assume using their device means they are good at multitasking, but this is not the case.

Take time before speaking to ensure everything said is diplomatic and sensitive to the other person. Time is needed to develop a relationship, and one dishonest remark or careless comment can destroy any trust that has been built. Don’t be afraid to show character and personality, but do so in a way that reflects positively on you. When two people feel comfortable working together, it becomes easier to establish contracts, terms and conditions, and more. ‘

Learn the names of others involved in the business dealings. This is also considered a sign of respect, thus learning these names should be a top priority. In addition, management should acknowledge the good work of those under them, as this helps to boost self-esteem and provide motivation.

Always send a thank you card. Handwritten notes have become a thing of the past in the eyes of many. Taking the time to write a note shows the relationship is valued and reflects well on the organization.

Business Etiquette Unique To Certain Countries

Learn the unique rules of each country. Doing so many feel overwhelming at first, yet this step is of great importance. Following are just a few of the many etiquette rules individuals should be aware of in different countries.

Presenting a person in China with a watch is considered disrespectful, as a watch is considered a sign of death. However, some type of gift is expected, and the item should be presented with both hands. In addition, the gift should never be wrapped in black, white, or blue paper. Gifts need to be avoided in the United States, however, as they may be considered a form of bribery.

Japanese and Indian people in the business world consider the word “no” to be rude. When in Japan, agree with the other person even when you do not. In India, however, it is best to say “possibly” or “we will see” as opposed to using the word “no”.

When doing business in Brazil, never eat with their hands. This is true regardless of the meal. Use utensils or a napkin, even when eating a sandwich, to avoid appearing rude. In contrast, people are expected to eat with their hands in India.

These are only a few of the countless rules regarding business etiquette the world over. As etiquette helps to facilitate business communication, invest time in learning the proper etiquette for a country before doing business there. Doing so helps to ensure a solid foundation for business relationships that could last a lifetime.

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