10 Tips on international meetings

  1. Check on Punctuality: Far East it is essential; Middle East it is very unlikely; Switzerland and Germany an imperative; UK and US very likely; Spain and Italy very improbable.
  2. Senior people and heads of delegations always walk in first in China; contrast this with the US. Don’t always take it for granted that the ‘leader’ is the Power.
  3. In light of the above, show respect to everyone.
  4. Exchange of business cards: Middle East only senior business people. Meishi koukan in Japan is a very important aspect of business etiquette. Placing the card in front of you on the table is an additional sign of respect.
  5. Hierarchy systems are often in place, so wait to be shown your seat. In the Far East the most senior person sits farthest from the door often facing it.
  6. Middle East – expect frequent interruptions and for the meeting to be reconvened several times. Often, they even double book.
  7. Be aware that Muslims pray 5 times a day and all work ceases then.
  8. In some countries a detailed list is required concerning the objectives you wish to meet, and who will be attending.
  9. An emotional appeal to pride, trust, mutual compatibility can be more successful than an appeal to facts and logic.
  10. Many Africans do business in a ‘take it or leave it’ fashion, whether they are a buyer or a seller. They want you to believe they are indispensable.

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