Doing Business Internationally: Some Management Tips
The following are management tips for doing business internationally:
Always err on the conservative side. Therefore, dress conservatively and remain formalespecially in your introductions and communications.
Be sure to take your business cards to Japan with you. They are relied upon in introductions and enable the Japanese businessperson to identify your place in your organization.
Use last names and titles (for example, Dr. Smith or Professor Hig-gins). Do not use first names until directed to do so. Otherwise you may offend those who do not appreciate informality.
International travel on and off the job is important. While it doesn't guarantee that you will become cosmopolitan, it certainly helps.
Who attends a meeting is often a reflection of the culture. Carefully explore the cultural norms prior to issuing invitations. For example, those from Arab cultures invite only high-ranking people.
Remember that cultural values are changing across the globe.
Nonverbal communication varies form one culture to anotheroften meaning different things in different cultures. You must be especially guarded in your hand motions and your facial expressions. For example, Americans and Arabs use smiles to communicate hospitality. Smiles in the Japanese culture hide embarrassment.
Arabs and Japanese value harmony and therefore avoid direct confrontation.
Indonesians prefer an informal atmosphere at meetings. They also expect breaks during longer meetings.
Periods of silence are common in telephone conversations with people from the Japanese culture. Americans may feel uncomfortable with this silence and try to fill it. The Japanese are using this as a time for reflection. You should let the Japanese be the one to break the silence.