(English) International Business Is More Than Just A Handshake

One thing that I am really passionate about is chocolate. I am also passionate about geography and geopolitics.

I use to love to collect National Geographic magazines, and I liked to read The World Almanac of Reader’s Digest ( I still do  ) and honestly I am very knowledgeable about most of the world capitals and cities.

Still, I remember when I was a curious little boy, 10 years old reading maps and many books of cartography from my grandfather, and after many thoughts, I am still thinking about how it would be to live in those countries and know their cultures.

Two places in particular that always caught my attention were Stockholm, Sweden – I still don’t know why – , but they seemed like great place. I always told myself that one day “I will go there !”. After many years, I did. Living and working there was such great experience, and the same thing happened with Boston, the name of the city caught my attention and again I remember saying to myself, “I will live there!”,  I now have been living in this beautiful city for four years.

Why am I writing about some personal hobbies, experiences or places that I like?     

With the passing of time and with experience in European and American pharmaceutical companies in my original country Perú ( Yes, Macchu Picchu ), I decided to start my entrepreneur adventure in social media marketing.

I met a dear colleague, Natascha Thomson, CEO of MarketingXlerator, who was born in Germany, together we wrote a series of articles about what fascinates me, social media and countries, which were all published in Social Media Today.

Here are the links If you would like to visit them :

These articles and this research that I did with Natascha allowed me ( and I’m sure her too) to know a little more about the behaviors in different countries and how they conduct international business and social media.

When you do business with companies or people outside of your home country, you have to take into account many points:

  • What kind : startups, corporation, entrepreneur, etc.
  • Age
  • Culture
  • Language
  • Belief
  • Behaviors
  • Race
  • Etc.

I consider myself straight forward, however, in my original culture (Latin hispanic), it is often not “appropriate” to be so direct.

In the past few weeks on my twitter feed, I found this great article-infographic from a based UK company Wdstorage: International Business Etiquette, this article shows a detailed infographic about 7 countries and how we should act if we are doing business with them.

I would like to detail three very important points:

  1. Acceptable behaviour will differ greatly from country to country and there are many factors to consider.
  2. Inappropriate behaviour may not only cause embarrassment and offence, it could cost your company business opportunities, money and even your job.
  3. there are a number of general factors to think about which apply to most countries that you may visit. These include how to greet and address your business associates, how to dress, etc.

International Business Etiquette – An infographic by the team at Whitefields Document Storage

 Having the cultural insight into the dynamics of a country can be very helpful to understand why people act the way they do, and the way appropriate sou should act while in that country. ~ Cyborlink

Likewise, reviewing a very interesting article in the Harvard Business Review : Learning the Language of indirectness, can also help you to understand a much more interesting topic. Now, the digital world works daily with different cultures and these things are very important to keep in mind:

  • One of the greatest – and subtlest – challenges in a global business is managing differences in communication style
  • One critical piece of advice is to remember that when you’re communicating with someone from a less direct culture, you can not take everything you hear at face value.
  • As a manager (or entrepreneur perhaps) from a direct culture, you’d need to filter That again through your understanding of indirectness

Conclusions:

The messages from our content sometimes must be often aligned with the culture that we want to approach, and this takes time and patience.

During this time of the digital world, which is very fast, if you can seek help from a partner or a connection in your network that can help you to reach the target audience you want to reach, it could be much easier and more productive for you.

Muchas Gracias.

Image : WD Storage