The expansion of markets and audiences at the international level is a reality worldwide and in all sectors. To achieve effective communication in multicultural environments, it is of utmost importance to understand the customs, way of thinking and business culture, in general, of your audiences or potential business partners abroad.

When we negotiate with people of other cultures and want to effectively reach agreements and minimize or mitigate communication errors and misunderstandings, it is critical to put aside prejudices regarding our personal expectations. The “should be” that we have learned in our culture becomes a perception when we deal with people from other countries with other cultures. The healthiest and most assertive thing is to accept and understand as “learning” all formal or informal behavior of our education and that of the counterpart.

Adapting and accepting to another culture allows learning for both parties, since we learn to observe, listen and be cautious before speaking or acting. All these with a genuine interest in facilitating empathy between the parties and thus achieving the connection that will favor negotiations.

All cultures have something to teach us and, if you are an entrepreneur, it is vital to know which rituals are important to each one.

Here are some examples:

  • In Venezuela, once the formal presentation is established, the foreign businessman can receive a hug. In case of being a woman, she can get a kiss on her cheek.
  • In Colombia, walking away after having been introduced up is considered an insult and a demonstration of lack of interest.
  • In Japan, the business card must be received and held with both hands and carefully observed to see the name and position of the person, as a token of respect. Putting it immediately in your pocket would be rude.
  • In China, a gift is very well received, even if it is initially rejected out of courtesy before it is received.
  • In Germany, punctuality is considered part of a formality and tardiness is considered disrespectful and even unacceptable.

There are also many examples of verbal and non-verbal communication that we must know before attempting to establish a successful relationship.

To avoid misunderstandings:

  • Pre-research your counterpart’s business culture and protocol.
  • Hire a professional interpreter to assist you in your meetings.
  • Ask the interpreter about the protocol and let us know the material you will use in your presentations.
  • Focus on speaking and thinking in your language. It will allow you to be more effective and better understand the critical aspects of the negotiation. Leave the matter of languages to our interpreter.
  • We help you make a list of the most important things and words, expressions and actions to avoid.

Culture shock is common among foreigners and its adverse effects can be minimized by using the services of professional interpreters who help you communicate effectively and understand the protocol, etiquette, and manner of communicating with your counterparts from another culture.

At LingoCall we can help you in these intercultural communication and negotiation processes.