Tips for Successful and Polished Business Travel
Generalizing is a powerful tool. It helps us figure out expectations and navigate them. Stereotyping, potentially hurtful or harmful. So, when you're thinking about generalities, ways to acquaint yourself with a society or culture, we live in an information age. Don't neglect the obvious. Do a little research. Information is currency, acquire some of that currency. Don't miss the obvious. Look at a country's official website. Look at how, people, countries, organizations present themselves. Look at how other people think about them, Wikipedia. I know, I know. Not everything you read online is true, but there's also a certain wisdom to crowds. Collectively we are brilliant. The CIA.gov World Fact Book is great if you're talking about business research for a country that you're doing business in. If you're looking for facts and figures and data about economies and populations. And TripAdvisor is my social tip. When you're traveling in other countries, this is one of the most commonly use...
d social networks for international travel. Again, like any social system, it's not perfect, but it's a place you might start some of your research. Information is currency, information is power. Start to acquaint yourself with any culture that you're going to be interacting with. What are the particular areas that you might focus on? Forms of government laws, names of key political figures or celebrities, national religions and alternatives, holidays and days of rest. Don't expect to do business in France on Bastille day. Don't expect to be able to get gas at a gas station, as you drive to the airport on a religious holiday in Italy. Also pay attention to dietary customs. And a particular favorite of mine is arts and history. Show some interest. Show some interest in the cultural history, of the places you're visiting, the people that you're interacting with. International communication basics: if you don't speak another language, challenge yourself to learn a few things. A great place to start is magic words. We talked about the power of communication, in our communications course. We finished with a discussion about the importance and the power of magic words. They are magic in every language. So is the language for greetings and partings. Salutations and closings, the way you open and close communications. And titles and abbreviations that you use to respect people's positions and professional standing. Finally, have a few personal interests. If you have gone that step, of finding out a little something about the arts, culture, or history I don't know, the name of an opera. A dance form that's popular, a celebrity who's well known in that country. Show some interest. Be interested, it will make you a more interesting person. It'll also make you easier to interact with, it'll make it easier to build, and grow, and establish relationships. What are some key business etiquette manners? Well, introductions and business cards, clothing and attire, relationships to time. When you get down to business. I can show up on time, but we might sit around and just talk for a while, before we ever bring up business. Dining, how you share meals and foods. And finally the exchange of gifts. I love the idea of gift-giving. Reciprocity in relationships. We give and receive thanks, well oftentimes when we're traveling, whether you're visiting someone's home, and you bring a houseguest gift. Or whether you're visiting someone's country, and you bring something, because you appreciate the opportunity to do business, or to get to know someone in a more personal way, the exchange of gifts is critically important. Think about what you give. I like the idea of bringing something from where you're from. Something that's significant to the relationship. I also like the idea of presenting it well. How do you do that? Well you wrap it. You might exchange gifts on arrival, on departure. Or at a significant moment, a dinner, a relationship won. A moment of some significance. Or if someone's given you something. When receiving a gift, appreciate it. Acknowledge it. Receive it well. Show interest in it, and thank them for it. Our final business etiquette for traveling tips, is quite specifics about working with a translator. I just like to include this, because it is so useful. Ahead of time, meet with people, go over key terms, particularly jargon or concepts that might be difficult. During your time with a translator, speak to your audience, not to the person who's doing the translating. Go slowly. And finally, afterwards, talk to them about how they thought it went. They're gonna have a better idea of how information was received, and how successful you were at communicating maybe than you do yourself. Those are just some, some big picture items to think about, as you're working across cultural boundaries, particularly internationally. But I really like to refer back to that Golden Rule Platinum Rule framework, for thinking about any situation where you're crossing a cultural boundary or divide. It works well for intergenerational communication. It works well when companies are merging. And that office in New York is trying to communicate with that office in the Midwest for the first time. Golden Rule for principles, Platinum Rule for manners. You're gonna be in great, great shape. I want to conclude by thanking you. I really appreciate your time and attention today, and I wish you great luck as you navigate business social situations moving forward.