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August 21, 2010 / Astor ICS

International Meeting Tips for Cultural Understanding

When you are going to a meeting in a different country than your own, there are different approaches that different cultures use. A good example of this is the American system of talking socially first, and then the meeting slowly begins and at the end, people get up and leave. In many European countries, it’s the opposite. First, the meeting (it’s as if they want to get to it and et it over with) and directly to the main topics and at the end, they usually sit back in their chairs and have a bit of socialization.

In China, the meeting etiquette is not so different than you may imagine, but they do exist and it’s an important thing to understand. when you arrive, make sure you take the time to greet others formally; a handshake, as you are a foreigner, and greet the oldest person first. If you’re unsure, take a guess (or ask someone before the meeting starts) and don’t be startles if they look toward the ground and not into your eyes (the subject of a future post). If you know their title, use it, like Mr. Chairman or Ms. Vice President. Then, like in countries with the formal ‘you’, they eventually ask you to address them by their first name. In the US, it is common to immediately move to the first name so a certain equality is suggested for easier communication.

By knowing some of these styles and habits, and practicing them a little, you can set your foreign counterparts, colleagues and others in executive positions up for a quick start for open communication. You need to understand and respect other cultural habits.

So you can see, we all are going to the same end; a productive meeting, good influential skills and successful negotiations. the differences is that we get there in slightly different ways.

Don’t get stressed about it, just learn and be cordial.

These are basic cultural generalizations and by no means reflect all the individual behaviors that are unique to all people everywhere. For your specific international nedds, you hould contact Astor ICS and you can discuss you situation and a strategy and plan will be developed for you.

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