We are all familiar with common business practices in our home countries, but less accustomed to the way things are done abroad. It’s important for your globally mobile employees to remember that, when traveling abroad for business, they are representing your department, your company, and your country. With so much on the line, every international business trip profits from preparation.
Knowing even just a little about the cultures and customs of colleagues in a destination goes a long way. Business travelers should develop their adaptive skills, and avoid gestures that may not be appreciated or understood by their colleagues. Strategic scheduling of travel, meetings, and rest time can also make a substantial difference.
In addition, every global business traveler should know the answers to these questions before going abroad:
- Is the traveler’s passport up-to-date? Is it within 6 months of expiration? (If so, the passport needs to be renewed as it may not be accepted.)
- Does the country require a visa?
- What vaccinations are required?
- What is the currency exchange rate?
- What is the time difference? (Jet lag is the enemy of every business traveler.)
- What is the dress code? (In Muslim countries, women especially need to cover up as much as possible.)
- What are some of the customs in that country? (For example, in Japan, it’s customary to spend a lot of time reading a person’s business card when they hand it to you.)
- What are some of the laws of the country? (In Singapore, gum chewing is illegal.)
- Are handshakes or bows acceptable when greeting someone? How much pressure should be applied in the handshake?
- Should you socialize with the international colleagues after business is concluded?
- If you are expected to bring your own equipment for a PowerPoint presentation, what type of electrical adaptor is required?
- Will any security be required?
- What about travel insurance?
- Who is the contact in case of an emergency?
- How do they conduct meetings there?
- Is a translator needed? (It’s best to learn a few key words which your hosts will appreciate.)
Initial introductions are very important and your global business travelers should know how to show respect at the beginning of the first meeting, how introductions are handled, rules that apply to tipping, who pays for the meal, and the appropriate manner of dress.
There are thousands of websites and books with overwhelming and sometimes conflicting information about business travel abroad. Rest assured, Living Abroad’s Global Business Travel Center has done all the vetting and research for you. With over 150 destinations, articles cover the following topics, plus much more:
- Proper travel documents
- Exchange rates
- Local customs
- Business and social etiquette and manners
- Travel warnings
Why rely on your employees to do the research especially when their time is so limited? With a subscription to Living Abroad’s Global Business Travel Center, we have you covered. Formatted for all devices, a traveler has access when they need it the most!
Check it out with a free demo! Click here
Written by Cathy Heyne, GMS-T – Managing Director, Living Abroad