By Marilyn Vinch
Traveling for work can be a minefield of potential culture clashes. When you go to do business in another country, you tread a difficult line of being true to your own customs and beliefs, while honoring and respecting those of your hosts. Doing so makes not only for good business, but good friendship.
As we make ever more progress in uniting the world and making cross-cultural business exchange possible, it becomes ever more valuable to note and value our differences, what makes each culture special – and to maximize the potential of those similarities that bring us together.
In India, for example, you’ll want to greet your new associates with a bow, whilst if you’re from England, Australia or Poland (among many others) you’ll find a familiar handshake waiting for you. But what divides the Brits and Australians in such scenarios is that the British will likely retain this level of formality throughout the proceedings, while Australians are more likely to speak frankly and conduct their business more informally. In both Ireland and Latvia you’ll be greeted with a handshake, and you’ll be expected to tip the waiter, but if you’re a flawlessly formal business dresser you’ll look a lot more in place in Latvia than in Ireland, where a casual streak can be found in seemingly formal situations.
Of course, when you’re away from home and creating new connections, there’s a good chance you’ll be invited to deepen those relationships in less formal settings – but you’ll be just as keen to make a good impression, be it dinner with your host’s family or a round of golf.
To get the lowdown on what regions your particular etiquette might be most suited, check out the flowchart below, which provides a lighthearted guide to the shared and diverging manners of nations around the world, and don’t forget to remain sensitive to local nuances.
Image source: Expedia
About Marilyn Vinch