Business Customs and Protocols across the Globe
Business etiquette, cross cultural communications and protocols are an intrinsic part of any global business operation. A successful business outcome is dependent on how you apply your communication skills and cultural understanding whichever country you are in, and appropriate behaviour is essential. A lack of knowledge about a culture can be the kiss of death in your business dealings and research should be undertaken in order to make the best impression possible.
- In China pointing when you speak is considered rude, as well as large hand movements. Personal contact should be avoided.
- Australians are not overly impressed by status, title or your position and expect your work to speak for itself.
- In Hong Kong respect is extremely important, with special care taken when greeting your host. Titles are considered very important and conservative dressing is expected.
- In India the word 'no' is considered harsh so evasive refusals are deemed more polite. The use of titles is always important.
- In the UK a handshake is the standard greeting and personal space is important. Punctuality is essential in your business dealings.
- The customary greeting in Japan is a bow, although foreigners may be greeted with a handshake. The Japanese prefer not to use the word no, so be sure to watch body language. It could be useful to note that women who wear trousers may be frowned upon.
- In the United States a firm handshake is essential and many business conversations will occur during a meal. Using eye contact is a sign of interest, sincerity and confidence.
It is important to remember that just because something is acceptable in your home country doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be considered widely inappropriate to another culture. Business protocols and customs vary from country to country and knowing how to avoid a cultural faux pas is essential to ensure positive business dealings.