In discussions, negotiations and even enjoying drinks in the pub, navigating across cultures must be on your business radar screen. National cultures play a key role in how managers view the pace and passage of time in building business relationships, making decisions and closing the deal. Understanding silence is also key: how to use – and react to it, in your own culture and across cultures. The importance of the power and social hierarchy is another key element in country cultures: who to talk to and how.
In writing, we discuss the importance of cultural tone and style: what is efficient and clear for an American can be abrupt and aggressive for a Brazilian.
Knowing your own culture in international business is as equally important as understanding others. In this component, we cross borders and cultures to discuss all of these issues, including:
- Business socializing: small talk – it’s not small, it’s big and important
- Language traps: same word, different meaning
- Using humor, carefully
- Different countries, different power structures: tips and taboos
- Communicating: direct and explicit or indirect and implicit?
- Contracts: firm and fixed or flexible and fluid?
Ignoring corporate and national cultures can sabotage international projects; knowing them increases your chances of success.