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How to work with people from other cultures

It is true in this era of globalisation that the world is indeed becoming smaller; as a result we now see more businesses working on a global level. However, it is important to remember that there will be many cultural differences which could cause some uncomfortable moments. Whilst it’s unlikely that you will be able to learn every custom before dealing with people, there are some steps that can be followed in order to avoid any mishaps.

Learn the basics

If you know that you will be doing business with someone in advance, spend a little time getting some basic information before meeting. A simple Google search will help you understand some of the cultural norms and general etiquette.

Body language

Keep your attention on your body language- hugging or any form of contact can be extremely inappropriate in some cultures, especially between men and women. Keep your body language formal and if you are unsure, keep arms and legs closed and straight to avoid offending someone.

Always be professional first

Until you understand what the other person expects from your new relationship, always maintain a professional manner. You can always change to a more informal manner later if you feel this is more appropriate.

“Creating good relationships and effective communication are a significant part of doing business successfully,” comments Alan Denton of The Results Centre. ”This becomes more complex when dealing with different cultures, but carrying out a little research beforehand and maintaining a professional stance throughout can pay dividends.”