In today’s increasingly globalised world, more and more firms are doing business overseas. Where you do business dictates how you should manage your business etiquette and personal style.
It is good practice to spend some time preparing for your business trips and learning about a region’s history, customs and culture. This will allow you to prepare appropriately and assemble a number of talking points, which could be useful when you meet with potential (and existing) clients.
Arriving late isn’t a risk worth taking. Aim to be on time or slightly early. You cannot offend your host by being early to a meeting. In many countries it is considered rude to leave a meeting before it has fully concluded. Bear this in mind and build appropriate time between meetings into your schedule.
When conducting business in other countries, what you consider to be “normal” communication protocols may not be considered conventional in the region that you are visiting. It is best to read up on this before your trip. For example – in some countries, shaking hands at the start of a meeting is considered polite. However, in other countries the handshake may be replaced by a bow. It can be helpful to observe native business people first, and adapt your style accordingly so as not to offend your overseas business contacts during meetings.
If you travel long distances on business, jet lag can be a real challenge. You don’t want to be fighting to stay awake in your business meetings. Therefore, build in time for power naps, appropriate levels of sleep and ensure you drink plenty of water. If you find coffee helps, then pack some in your travel bag so that you have it to hand. Try to plan your trip so that you have time to adapt to the new time zone. This may mean arriving early and getting some sleep, or staying up all day in order to get an early night and allow your body to adapt to local time.