Australia is known for sports, beaches and fun. But hardly ever does one get to hear about the business end of things in the land of the Roo. Here are some tips that will help you with your business dealings in the world's largest island.
ē Keep it simple: Aussies are some of the easiest going people on the planet. They are casual and friendly. So greetings are usually informal and the general greeting term is Good day (Or simply, G'day). But when an outsider uses it, it might be considered patronising and pretentious. So, to be on the safe side, even a hello would be just fine. Also they come down to first names rather quickly.
ē Straight drive: The other thing about Aussies is that they are extremely open and wear their hearts on their sleeves. They say what they feel and expect the same in return. Humour is a big element in their conversations and it is often self-depreciating. Language is colourful. To put it mildly, don't be shocked if the expletives flow as easily as the beer. Even, the humour can be offensive on occasions. That's just how they are though.
ē Human touch: The normal gesture of greeting amongst men is a handshake. Quick and firm is the way to do it. Keep them single handed and try not to grasp the other person while shaking your hand. Typically, women don't shake hands with one another, however a cheek-to-cheek kiss won't be considered out of place. But, women and men do shake hands. A tip for women: be sure you are not overly demonstrative with the men, as that is a serious taboo in Australian circles.
ē Walk the talk: The Aussies love their beer bitter and their sports rough. Casual conversations can revolve around sports and beaches. And even though cricket does enjoy a decent following there, footy is the sport everyone is really clued into. Essentially Rugby without as many rules, Australian Football can be quite the conversation driver. Oh and about the beer, no matter what the adverts say, Fosters isn't Australia's favourite beer. In fact it isn't even sold in the country. For them it's VB all the way.
ē Down to earth: The Aussies like to down play their achievements a fair bit and are extremely modest about what they do and what they've done. So including your title in your name might be considered as showing off and won't go down too well.
The trick is in being calm and casual while striking the deal. After all, how many countries give you that liberty?
India is at the centre stage of worldís economic activities. From leading auto manufacturers to fashion brands, everyone is extending their interest in the Indian market. This means for Indian executives itís time to brush those etiquette skills to ensure that they strike the deal.
Why you? Donít dismiss this idea by assuming that only the top brass will have to deal with foreign clients. Along with the change in business guidelines, there has also been a shift in the way organisations operate today. Organisations are becoming far more linear and the responsibilities are shared across the board. So, get ready to deal with foreign clients and associates, irrespective of what level you are at...
Build relationships: The first rule to any successful business deal is to understand the person on the other end. Take time to understand your international clients and build a rapport before rushing to the bottom line. Remember, long lasting business relationships are built on trust, which can only be developed over a period of time.
Respect the cultural difference: It is likely that the foreign associates may have different viewpoints based on their backgrounds. However, this does not give you the chance to be subjective or judgemental in labelling something as good or bad. To ensure that you have a good relationship, itís best to accept them for who they are. This makes the overall communication and interaction simple.
Get local: When dealing with a foreign client, take some effort to learn about their country, common cultural habits and so on. This way you will be more aware of their dos and doníts. Also, the effort will only show that you want to make them feel comfortable.
Watch out: In addition to understanding the local culture, itís also a good idea to introduce them to our culture. But, in doing so make sure you donít go overboard. For instance, donít shower your guests with large garlands or an ostentatious welcome ceremony. This way you might make them feel a little uncomfortable.
Understand the food basics: If you are hosting your clients for a meal, learn their taste and preferences. For instance, do not assume that your foreign clients only love their non-vegetarian food or want to guzzle alcohol. Also, most time, many foreign guests want to try the local cuisine. So, ensure that the spread has mix of both types of food Ė Indian and from clientís nationality. This will only show your efforts to make them feel welcome and at home.
Lastly, avoid talking about political, religious or personal issues. Just remember a little compassion and a kind approach is what it takes to build a great foundation with your foreign clients.
Every country has some unsaid guidelines about their social and business etiquettes. France is no different. So, if you are planning a trip to France, here are some typical French quirks you should get acquainted with:
1. Learn the local language: We are not suggesting that you sign-up for a three week crash course, but itís good to learn some of the commonly used phrases such as Bonjour (Good morning, Hello, Good day), Bonsoir (Good evening), Au revoir (bye), and use it as appropriate. If your business associates see you putting in some effort in knowing their language and culture, it will help you build good relations.
2. Wear the look: For French, clothes indicate a certain social status. This does not mean that one must choose ostentatious or loud clothes. For a business meeting, dress conservatively, yet stylish. Patterned fabrics and dark colours are most acceptable, but avoid bright colours. For women, flashy jewellery with your business suits is a complete no-no.
3. The art of communication: French are very soft spoken, so be sensitive with the volume of your voice. Also, they are quite particular about non-verbal communication. Thus, itís important to make an eye contact while talking and a light handshake is expected upon meeting and parting. In fact, sometimes the eye-contact from your French associate could be intense, donít get intimated by this. Also note, first names are reserved for family and close friends here. Wait until invited before using someone's first name.
4. By appointment only: Never drop by casually. Be it a social or business visit, schedule your appointments. Punctuality is a relaxed affair in this country. Being fifteen minutes late is perfectly acceptable and in certain areas of the country, this timeline is more relaxed. However, if you are delayed beyond 15 minutes, you could inform your associate or your host.
5. Gifting and dining: Gifting is very personal in France. So, donít give your business card along with the gift. Taking flowers or chocolates along for the first meeting is the norm here. Flowers should be given in odd numbers but not 13 since number 13 is considered as unlucky. When attending a dinner, you are expected to finish everything on your plate. Wasting food is considered impolite. But leave your wineglass nearly full if you do not want to drink more. Never leave until everyone has finished their coffee.
Lastly, French are known to conduct lively discussions and debates, so speak only when you are confident and knowledgeable about the topic. Also, donít take a healthy discussion as a sign of friendship. Itís rude to ask about personal things, especially when youíve just met the person. Just play out your polite and good manner cards, and you are sure to strike a deal.
Youíve finally convinced your boss into thinking that youíre perfect for that business meeting with that really important client. This could be your one chance to get that long-pending promotion and prove yourself to your boss. Here are a few tips you should keep in mind when going for a business meeting.
Reach the venue of the meeting well in advance. Whether itís to be held in your own office or your clientís, make sure that youíre present there at least a quarter of an hour before the stipulated time. You can run over your presentation, check if all the equipment is in place and fully functional and be present in the boardroom when your business partner arrives.
Make sure that you have everything you need for your presentation in place. This would include your whole presentation with all the slides in the right order, all your paperwork, documents (if any) that the client would need to sign as well as all corporate financial figures that would be required.
Many a times a lot of people who go for client meetings invariably forget to carry their business cards with them or make the mistake of carrying just a few cards. Although this might not seem like a big deal, it really is. Your business card would be a physical reminder of you and your firm once the meeting is over.
Dress appropriately, perhaps a little better than how you would when you go to work. Remember that when you go for a meeting youíre representing your entire organization so you donít want to come off looking shabby and underdressed. No matter what anyone says, clothes and outward appearances do matter.
Converse with your business partners either before or after the meeting. Many people prefer to do this a few minutes prior to the meeting as it helps them break the ice as well as makes them a little less nervous before the presentation. This is the best way to get your business partners to remember you the next time theyíre interacting with your firm.
As schedules become more hectic, the business lunch continues to grow in popularity. Make sure to do things right when meeting over lunch with a prospective client or important associate. The last thing you want is for your encounter to be the final one.
Avoid extravagance. Pick a quality restaurant noted for its good food and reliable services. Book a table that is in a quiet corner where business can be discussed without too many noisy disturbances. Leave instructions at the counter to usher in your guests to your table. You need to stand up when someone arrives and wait for them to be seated before you sit down. If the client has a cocktail, follow his lead. If they order alcohol, you can too, but limit your drinks to one or two light ones. If they don't drink, you don't. Enter gracefully, donít be late. People typically have a limited amount of time for lunch. Take time to chat. Donít delve into business until youíve placed your order. Instead, make conversation, and try to get beyond the weather. Most people love to talk about themselves, so ask thoughtful questions that arenít too personal in nature, and actively listen to your dining companionsí responses. Despite all of your preparation, you may make a faux pas during a business lunch - remain calm. A fork could slip out of your hand, or a piece of food could get stuck in your throat. Pardon yourself, smile and continue the conversation. Your ability to handle a glitch with grace will make a far deeper impression than any minor blunder could. The most important people are the ones sitting in front of you. Remember to turn off all cell phones. If you answer a phone call and discuss other business in front of them, the meeting may be over before it began. Order with care: Ignore your craving for the barbecue pork sandwich or any other potentially messy dish. By sticking to easy-to-eat items, youíll save yourself the embarrassment of sauce dripping down your shirt. Also, donít order the most pricey entrťe if youíre not paying, and follow the lead of your host when it comes to appetizers, desserts and other extras.