I spend a great deal of time outside of the United States. Traveling throughout Europe, Asia, the Middle East, South America, etc. has given me the ability to experience the wonders of this amazing world and all that comes with it.
I am writing this as I sit in London (one of my favorite spots) and it reminds me of many years ago when I first started traveling abroad. Global business travel was reserved for executives of large corporations and back then, building relationships across nations was expensive and took a lot of time.
BUT - No longer! Things are so different nowadays. Easy access to air travel and sophisticated communications and technology make it easy for startups to begin anywhere in the world.
I love traveling the globe and the world has become so small to me. I used to be lonely in a ‘foreign’ city when I didn’t know anyone, didn’t know my way around and didn’t speak a local language. Today, there is almost no city that I land in where I don’t have friends, I am always able to get around easily (Uber!) and lucky for me, most speak English.
But with all this said, there is still a need to understand cultural differences. So here are some tips :
- First impressions count – correct handshakes, business card protocol and tone of language
- Know specific taboos in each country
- Know the preconceptions that people have of different cultures
- Be diplomatic
- For now, the official international language of business is English, but learning a few phrases is good
- Observe everything
- Be mindful and remember business is all about people and communication
- The more open and curious you are, the more friendships you will develop. Pack your bags, grab your passport and enjoy traveling the globe.