Whether you’re exhibiting internationally or at domestic shows with attendees from overseas, you need to know your audience.
After all, when it comes to face-to-face marketing with foreign buyers, assuming the wrong posture, wearing the wrong attire, or even greeting the wrong person first can land you in hot water faster than you can say “international incident.”
To help you adeptly navigate a multitude of cultural faux pas, here are tried-and-true tips on how to handle meetings and meals with prospects and clients from 11 different countries.
By Kevin Farrell
Speaking: Jumping right into business is considered rude.Each meeting should begin with several minutes of small talk. Avoid controversial topics like religion, politics, or jokes at Canada’s expense. Instead, stick to safe topics such as the weather, your accommodations, and complimentary talk of a show’s host city.
Attire: American-style business attire is suitable for meetings in Canada and with Canadian attendees.Anything happening in the major Canadian cities’ financial districts – like Toronto’s Bay Street – will be an occasion for more formal attire, such as suits and ties.Anywhere else, buttoned-up shirts paired with slacks or even jeans are usually appropriate for business meetings.
Formality: Interrupting someone while they are speaking is ill-advised, as is commenting aloud on someone’s accent.Rather than draw attention to the fact that you can’t understand the way something is being said, ask guests if they would mind repeating themselves.
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