Top Ten Tips for Doing Business Overseas

  1. P1010547Before you leave research any country you might be visiting. Get a small notebook to write down essential information. Try to also learn to speak a few words such as Hello, Yes, No, Please, Thank you and Where is?
  2. Work out your itinerary carefully leaving enough time in each destination. Check the weather forecast for the countries you will visit and take this as a rough guide for the clothing you will need. Also check  out the accepted business attire for the country you are visiting.
  3. For each country make sure you have some cash ready on arrival for such things as taxis and for tipping if appropriate. Check out beforehand the etiquette on tipping, as in some countries it is an insult to tip, eg Japan.
  4. Research the acceptable mode of greeting for each country you are visiting. Do not assume that they will be similar or that each person you meet in that country will use the standard greeting.  Take your lead from the person you are meeting.  Do obtain a copy “Kiss, Bow or Shake Hands” for the countries you are visiting.  (available from  Amazon). You can also Google this information.
  5. Always look at the reviews for possible hotels or book with a credible travel agent who will ensure you  have suitable accommodation. Companies such as Maiden Voyage send inspectors to vet any hotels before making recommendations. They have a strict criteria specifically for women travelling alone. Try to arrange for accommodation as near as possible to the venues you will be visiting. Be aware that most hotels charge for wi-fi connection and also breakfast as an additional extra.  Facilities such as pool, gym, spa, hairdressers and beauty salon can be seen on the hotel website.
  6. Each evening before you retire make a short list of the day’s events and the people you have met. Write down the names of any important contacts and what you discussed, remembering to write how you agreed to move forward.
  7. When you use a taxi ask the driver to agree the fare or use a meter, otherwise do not use that taxi.  It is common practice for the taxi drivers in many countries to charge any fee they wish for the journey. In one country I was in, as there were six of us we had to get two taxis. On one occasion in Malaysia a group of six of us used two taxis. One used the meter and the other didn’t and the difference in the fares was quite staggering.
  8. Make sure any meetings you intend to have are arranged before leaving home. However, on arrival it may be necessary to rearrange times and places so be prepared to be flexible. Also be aware that other opportunities may present themselves while you are travelling and these may alter your priorities.
  9. There can also be a different emphasis on time keeping in some countries so therefore be prepared if you have a meeting booked for 10am the person might turn up at 2pm and in some countries this is how business is done. There is no point in saying anything to the person you are meeting as this is standard business practice in some countries.
  10. Remember to take a very good supply of business cards. Each country will have a  different code of practice regarding business cards. Therefore again I suggest you refer to “Kiss, Bow or Shake Hands” for the countries you are visiting

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Good Luck


About the author

Ellen is our Business & Social Etiquette Blogger. You can reach Ellen on: Etiquette and Manners, Facebook, Linked In

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