My first business meeting in a very country where English had not been the native tongue is in Germany. I was nervous. I didn’t know German, with no one was beside me that may speak it. I fell throughout myself scheming to make apologies for speaking in English and not knowing their language. They brushed them back as no big deal. It turns out that English is widely accepted in Germany as the language of business and a lot of Germans are taught it as being another language throughout their early school years.
The New World of International Business Travel
So began my journey in the ” new world ” of international business travel. I made many mistakes as you go along, but eventually, I was capable of making these trips and hold business conferences routinely without every one of the drama. I’ll spare you the learning curve and share these international business travel Dos and Don’ts together with you:
Do Use The Buddy System
You must have someone with you whenever you travel internationally. Making your path within an unfamiliar country might be bewildering and it is more work than you already know. It usually takes two sets of eyes and ears to accomplish things that you’ll normally do a perfect system whenever you’re in your own home. To find local help. If you can have someone set up a meeting with the airport, get you settled in the hotel, support logistics, and join you for the meetings, then don’t pass up the chance. It simplifies things greatly. And even though English could be the language of business, do not take on it for granted.
There are important points that will be missed in the meeting simply because it’s way too hard for your hosts to think of the right words to say in English. A helper that knows the language will recognize this nuance and invest time to get everything on the table and make sure you already know. Do speak slowly. You need to slow down and pause frequently so that your hosts have plenty of time to translate within their heads. This way of speaking will feel unnatural, however, if you do not take action they are going to either hold you back repeatedly to be able to catch up, or they’ll give up altogether and tune get you started. Don’t cram too much in a meeting agenda. You need to trim your expectations by 50 percent at least. It takes twice as long to change ideas when you’ll find translations happening.
Don’t be an Ugly American
Keep the mindset always that you are a guest and that their time and company is something special for your requirements. Try to practice a few phrases of their language for small things like, “thank you”, “pleased to meet you”, “good morning”, and “goodbye”. Show an interest in their culture and history, and be respectful of their traditions and past. Do then come to culture shock. Total immersion in another culture will take its toll for you. Between this and also the jet lag your mental energy will run out and you may crash hard the initial couple nights. Don’t be surprised should you be dying to get a cheeseburger and many types of you want to complete at night is hide in your room. But resist these urges and have out to see the planet. Your chances to complete this are few, along with the memories last which your lifetime.