Ten Strategies for Success Abroad
Working across cultures requires a diverse skill set and a different approach from business in general. When bridging cultures both similar and foreign to your own, certain strategies are crucial to international business success. Here are ten strategies for interacting with people from different cultures.
Learn about the business beforehand.
This general business strategy becomes increasingly important when dealing with businesses across cultures. Get on their website, check out their promotional material. Get a feel for the atmosphere, attitude, and angle that the business has. Many cultural factors are passed down from the societal level to businesses. However, each organization will have its own culture, personality, and way of doing things.
Because your mind is processing a lot of information in new environments, your observation skills when working across cultures may be flooded or unfocused. Keep your observation skills engaged and alert to elements that will help you do business. Notice how people act, dress, and treat each other. Especially if you come from a culture that emphasizes verbal communication, make a point of looking for messages that are conveyed without being said. Being able to read a situation will greatly improve your ability to have a successful meeting.
Many people don't want to reveal how little they know about other cultures, so they don't ask questions. Ultimately, they limit their ability to work in other cultures. Questions show you are interested in your colleague's culture. This interest and consideration helps build your relationship, which is especially important if your culture has a reputation for trying to culturally dominate others (e.g. the U.S.). Demonstrate that you are working to create synergy between your cultures with questions. In doing so, you create room for the mistakes you may make; people are more willing to look past cultural blunders if they...