Over the years of doing business across cultures I've learned that showing cultural respect can
be a real deal maker. That's why it is important to get familiar with international business
etiquette. Lack of knowledge about a customer's culture can lead to misunderstanding and
frustration. To prevent potential embarrassment, learn how to greet and address
businesspeople in the country you're going to visit. In Latin America, expect to shake hands
upon introduction. But in China the traditional way of greeting is a nod or a slight bow.
However, when interacting with Westerners, Chinese usually shake hands. Bowing is also the
traditional greeting in Japan, where the depth of the bow expresses degree of respect or
gratitude. Now, business cards. When you receive a business card, take time to read it
carefully. Never place it in a shirt pocket or wallet immediately without examining it first.
Ideally, you should place it in a card case. Oh, and remember... while you may write on your
own card, never write on someone else's business card.
Being aware of cultural do's and don'ts is essential when you go on a business trip abroad, as
it can greatly contribute to the success of your trip. Punctuality is a very important issue, as its
value varies throughout the world. Understanding the culture of time may be critical for
developing mutually beneficial, long-term business relationships, without getting upset, or
angry. For example, in Australia being punctual is crucial. Good time keeping is also highly
valued in China, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, and Singapore. In many countries you are
always expected to be punctual, even if your client arrives after the appointed time, especially
in France, Israel, Italy, Poland, Portugal, and South Korea. Actually, in certain parts of the
world, the lack of punctuality is a fact of life. So become accustomed to waiting for your
business counterpart in countries such as Brazil, Spain, Greece, and Ireland. Obviously, you
should not let this relaxed local attitude undermine your professionalism and credibility.
It's easy to unintentionally offend a client and blow the deal if you don't pay attention to your
gestures. Generally speaking, gestures help to emphasize a point, but the same gestures may
have different meanings in different parts of the world, which can lead to confusion. For
example, an outstretched fist with a thumb extended straight up, known as a 'thumbs up' sign
is a positive gesture in the USA. However, in most of the Middle East and parts of Africa, this
symbol can be obscene. Similarly, the 'A-OK' sign done by connecting the thumb and
forefinger into a circle, is a commonly positive gesture in most western countries. It usually
means 'all's well'. Yet, in certain parts of Europe, such as Denmark or Italy, the gesture is
considered offensive, as it means something like 'you are a zero', or 'you're nothing'. In
Brazil and Russia, and in some Mediterranean countries, it can be taken as a vulgar insult.
In order to make a good impression on a potential business partner, it is critical to have some
understanding of the way in which business attire is treated in the country you are visiting.
First of all, the significance of colour can diverge surprisingly from culture to culture. That's
why an unwise choice of colours can give business associates a negative impression. For
example, in China, where red is considered a lucky color, wearing a red tie is a good choice.
However, white is the colour of mourning, and a businessman wearing a white tie can make a
funereal impression. In Brazil, you should avoid wearing a tie with the combination yellow
and green, as these are Brazil's national colors, and should not be worn by anyone who is not
Brazilian. In the Middle East, a green tie can give the impression that you support local
Islamic parties, as green is the color of Islam. This should not be a problem in officially
Islamic countries such as Saudi Arabia or Kuwait. However, in certain secular states, which
are currently under pressure from Muslim fundamentalists, a green tie can make an
- przyzwyczajony, obyty
- zwracać się, kierować się, adresować
- ubiór, strój
- rozwiewać, zniweczyć
- ukłonić się
to contribute to sth
- przyczyniać się do czegoś, wnosić wkład
- duplikat, kopia; odpowiednik
- odbiegać, rozchodzić się
- gest, ruch ręką
- pochylić się, skinąć głową
- nieprzyzwoity, obsceniczny
- rozpostarty, rozciągnięty
- podważać (np. argumentację), umniejszać (np. znaczenie)
Materiał pochodzi z kursu Profesor Henry Business English.