Today, business world is becoming increasingly smaller and globalization brings people closer. Yet, cultural diversity is more present than ever.
A firm engaging into international trade should be mostly concerned with making the best impression on clients at the host country. To achieve this, it has to realize that each culture favors its own values in business relationships and therefore it is absolutely essential to appreciate different business etiquette around the globe to conduct business effectively. In the context of global trade, it is essential to appreciate cultural diversity and to develop skills of inter-cultural communication. Otherwise lack of knowledge about cultural values in the host country may lead to misinterpretation, disturbance and embarrassment.
Inter-cultural communication is vital for building successful business relationships, yet it is also difficult to handle. Managing cultural diversity is a difficult process as cultural characteristics are not always easily identifiable. Often, to understand the opposite partner’s expectations and intentions and to respect them requires valid assumptions for the implied cultural values. This insinuates that an international firm should not enter into discussions with the host country under the assumption that own culture is correct. Such type of ethnocentrism favors cultural misunderstanding.
In order to promote multinational synergy standard business etiquette for any international venture would be:
- Be prepared before visiting the particular area. Do ample research on the business and personal etiquette of the country you plan to visit. Purchase a travel book or do search on the Internet.
- Learn key phrases in the language of the country you plan to visit. It is a smart way to bridge the gap between cultures and natives will be pleased about the attempt.
- Avoid the use of idioms and choose words that convey specific and clear meaning
- Be careful listeners and when in doubt ask for clarifications
- Respect local communication style and body language connotations
- Do not assume superiority in inter-cultural communication, avoiding the event of being ignored or disapproved.
- Follow the rules of the country you plan to visit in terms of in social behavior, dress code, appearance and interaction.
- Learn how people at host country perceive your culture.
Written by Christina Pomoni
Financial Adviser – Freelancer Writer