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Working for a multinational corporation may find you doing Quality Control Inspections in Italy or Audits in Japan and every country in between. While corporate America has many written and unwritten rules (40-50 hour work weeks, 10 minute lunches, and 2 weeks paid vacations during which time you are constantly responding to emails and participating in conference calls), other cultures’ corporate environments vary drastically. Many european countries take 1-2 hours each day for lunch and it is not uncommon to have wine with said meal. In an attempt to prove that the Cultured American is not an oxymoron, here are a few tips that will help you navigate through many business situations with ease:


Before embarking on your international business trip, take a few moments to educate yourself on the local customs and business culture of your host city. By typing “Business Etiquette in Japan” in your internet search engine, for example, you will find a treasure trove of information. A five-minute read of one or two pages will provide you with sufficient details and the confidence to impress your colleagues when you give a slight bow and handshake upon meeting your Japanese counterpart. Not only is the slight bow a sign of respect, but it is highly regarded and appreciated by the Japanese. And while they may forgive small western transgressions, your company will look better if you appear to be aware of and follow their business and social customs.


Business lunches are a common occurrence, and although drinking wine during a meeting in the United States is unheard of, it is par for the course outside of your home country. By all means, do not offend your hosts by not participating. Share in that bottle of wine! Just keep in mind that if you wish to keep your wits about you during discussions, keep your glass half full, lest you risk someone refilling your glass. And while sharing in one or more bottles of wine during a business lunch will often be encouraged by your host, hard liquor is frowned upon. Therefore, that snifter of Royal Salute 38-year-old scotch served neat will have to wait until after dinner. When you are alone. Or with your American colleagues.


This last tip may leave some of you aghast with the mere thought, but give it a chance before turning your nose up and walking away. Learn a new language. Or rather learn a few words so that you don’t appear to be completely helpless and draw the wrath of a French waiter when trying to order food at a restaurant or find out where the restroom is. English still appears be the official or unofficial language of global business, but people appreciate knowing that you took the time to learn how to say ‘good morning,’ ‘how are you,’ and ‘do you speak english?’ in their language. You will create a lasting impression not only for your company in general, but yourself in particular. Wherever your travels take you in the world, Royal Coachman Worldwide can provide you with the finest, most reliable ground transportation, from between meetings to trips to the airport.  Give us a call today at +1 973-400-3200 Internationally, or toll free 800-472-7433.

Posted in: international travel, travel tips

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