As an entrepreneur, knowing how to interact in a global environment is vital. Whilst it might seem like a difficult path to tread, for me there tends to be more similarities than differences in cultures, and having the ability to quickly learn and adapt will help you to ensure that doing business internationally will be easy.
- Everyone loves to feel special, so take the time to make sure you use the appropriate language for the person you are doing business with. Whilst the English language may seem similar in other countries (e.g. USA) there are subtle differences, so find out what they are and then adapt your written communication to reflect this.
- Geographical knowledge is extremely useful so make sure you have studied a map so that you can have a sense of where places are in relation to one another. Again this can help to show that you have some knowledge of the country that you are doing business with.
- Be authentic – whilst it’s helpful to do some research on the country you are doing business with – if you don’t know something, it’s okay to ask. This gives your contact an opportunity to share some of their cultural idiosyncrasies with you and they can also feel that you are willing to learn, which can help to build rapport.
- Watch and learn – If you travel to another country to meet your business contact, then make a conscious effort to talk less and watch more. You can quickly pick up how the natives of that country behave and then think about how you might interact with them accordingly.
- Find a local person who can guide you through the ways that business is done in that country. There are some great global businesswomen’s networks that you could access online to ask questions or find a local contact.