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5 Ways to Prepare Yourself for Foreign Business Etiquette

    International travel is important for most businesses. However, foreign business etiquette is tricky to master. It’s different all around the world. Frequent business travelers need to be adaptable. They need to be polite and know how to behave in different situations.

    Here are five ways to prepare yourself for your next foreign trip.


    Do some research on your destination.

    Or, if you are greeting foreign colleagues, research their country.

    You don’t need to become an expert.

    But they will be impressed if you know a few things.

    Research the economic situation. This is very important for international business. See what the situation of the industry is there.

    However, be careful to avoid touchy subjects. There’s nothing wrong with researching politics and religion. In fact, it is probably helpful.

    But you don’t want to offend anyone.

    It’s best to avoid politics and religion as conversation topics.

    If they bring the subject up, try and remain neutral. Don’t judge their religion or talk too much about your own. Asking questions is ok.

    Ask about more than the weather.

    Ask about the country’s geography, food, and art.

    Expressing interest will please your guests.

    Make Travel Arrangements

    If you’re traveling, it’s best to make arrangements yourself.

    Unless your host is insistent, book your own hotel through a good booking service. You don’t want to get into an awkward situation.

    Controlling your own booking makes sure that you stay in control.

    That way if something goes wrong, you have somewhere private to go.

    If you are hosting guests, offer to make arrangements for them.

    You might not need to book a hotel or transfer service. But have a list of places they can stay or services they can use.

    Organize a cultural outing.

    Invite your guests to a night at the theater or offer to take them to a nice restaurant. Show them around the city.

    Likewise, plan things to do during your trip.

    If there’s anything you really want to see, tell your colleagues.

    You might not have to do what you want.

    But having a plan gives you something to do if you have extra time.

    Having a nice place to stay is the most important part of business travel.

    You need a home away from home.

    Stay Alert

    Travel can be dangerous. It can also be stressful.

    Be aware that your guests might need time to relax. Pay attention to their needs. Ask if they are hungry or thirsty.

    Make sure that you aren’t overstaying your welcome.

    Check that you aren’t overstepping any boundaries.

    See if there are any internal problems in the business you are visiting.

    Most of these issues won’t be communicated openly.

    You have to be aware of body language and have a good feel for things.

    Trust your gut if you think things aren’t going well.

    Don’t be afraid to make last-minute decisions. If you aren’t comfortable with something, say so.

    Don’t be afraid to voice your own needs.

    Learn a Language

    English is the international business language.

    However, there are many other languages frequently used.

    Here is a list of the most useful business languages.

    You don’t need to become fluent. Even learning a few words will impress your colleagues and customers. It’s only polite when you are a guest in their country.

    Learning a language will also help you understand what’s going on.

    Relying on translation isn’t always good.

    There could be conversations going on behind your back that you don’t know about. You don’t want to be cheated.

    It’s also fun to learn another language.

    Be Flexible

    Things can go wrong during a trip.

    Your customer could get sick. Or they could have something come up.

    Be understanding and be willing to postpone your trip.

    Or be willing to stay an extra day or two.

    Bring an extra set of clothes in case your plans change.

    Be ready to change the details of a deal.

    Don’t come with your plans set in stone. It will only make for bad business.

    Your colleagues will be impressed by your flexibility.


    Traveling internationally for business is tough and stressful. Learning foreign business etiquette is essential for any business traveler.

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