brazil

Networking may get your foot in the door in the United States, but networking is the door when you’re in Brazil. What do I mean by this? Brazilians almost always prefer to conduct business with someone that is familiar with or knows a native. This embodies one main principle about Brazilian business practices: the reputation of the business doesn’t matter – only that of the person.

Therefore, bragging about your company will not get you very far in cementing a business proposition. In fact, appearing more likeable to your Brazilian counterparts will help you go far. Also, since the person matters more when doing business in Brazil, be sure to keep the same personnel working on the same project for the entire duration to establish rapport with your Brazilian co-workers.

Nevertheless, if a deal has been made (due to your likeability!), don’t count on a contract being drawn up immediately afterward. A handshake may suffice, but be wary of some areas in Brazil since they do not necessarily consider signed agreements as binding.

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south-korea

Business cards can sometimes be undervalued. People may lose them or misplace them, but South Koreans hold a high regard for business cards. In fact, South Koreans believe how you treat their business cards reflects how you will treat them as individuals. Therefore, it’s imperative to know some basic business card etiquette to create a good impression.

Here are a few pointers:

  • Make sure your business card has English on one side and a Korean translation on the other.
  • When presenting the business card, use both hands to give it to the other person (with the Korean side facing up).
  • Never put a business card directly into your pockets; that’s considered disrespectful.
  • Take time to study a business card before putting it in a card case or portfolio.
  • Never write on the business card while with the card giver.

italy

While meetings in the United States may be called as late as the last minute, Italians like things to be prepared well in advance. In fact, meetings should be scheduled 2-3 weeks prior to the actual event (in writing and in Italian, preferably).

However, arranging a meeting is not a one-time deal; follow-ups to confirm the meeting are the norm. When reconfirming the meeting, follow up either through e-mail, phone, or fax (again in Italian). The most convenient times to meet are usually from 10AM-11AM or after 3PM.

Nevertheless, no matter what kind of meeting you are setting up with an Italian business partner, try to avoid convening in the month of August. Due to the numerous amounts of festivities that month, most businesses will be closed, so plan your business trip accordingly.

australia

Known for its down-to-earth nature, Australia is an exciting place to do business. However, due to the casual and practival character of the country, Australians place little to no emphasis on over-the-top details and flashy deals.

Thus, in order to seal the deal with an Australian business partner, be sure to NOT talk about your accomplishments or those of your company. Bragging is often associated with arrogance and leaves a bad impression with many Australians.

In addition, when presenting your claim, be sure to include facts and statistics. Superfluous details will only be seen as a distraction and will be disregarded by your Australian counterpart. This could also hurt your credibility with them, so be sure to just include details that can be proven.

japan

It is not uncommon to hold a meeting with a Japanese counterpart in a restaurant. Therefore, it’s significant to know the basic etiquette when eating out in Japan. The first major thing to note is that the Japanese love to drink as it represents stress alleviation. If drinking is a problem for you, be sure to inform your host; they may try to get you to drink several times before they stop.

Furthermore, when it comes time for the bill, make an effort (even a small one will do) to pay for it. The Japanese will insist on picking up the tab, but it leaves a good impression if you try to pay anyways. Just keep in mind that it leaves the opportunity for you to pay if they ever visit your home country.

On a last note, since business is usually conducted in restaurants, it is rare that a Japanese business partner will invite you to their home. However, if that does happen, show them your immmense appreciation as their action represents a great sense of trust.

france

While the United States (and certainly the McCombs School of Business :)) encourages team work, the concept is nearly unrecognized in French society. This is mainly attributable to the school systems in France, which encourage competition and individual achievement. Thus, don’t be surprised by the rigid hierarchical class system they might use against you.

Consequently, meetings are often dotted with debates. However, do not take things too personal as arguments are viewed as a source of recreation in France. But what should you debate about with a French business partner to build your credibility? Here are some suggestions:

  • French history and culture
  • Your own country’s history and culture
  • Politics

dubai

With Dubai playing a significant role in international trade and financial services, it is no surprise that it’s becoming increasingly important to develop good relations with the United Arab Emirates and the other Arabian nations. Like most Gulf countries, appearance is a very important factor to take into consideration. In fact, wearing the wrong thing could be considered highly offensive.

Here’s one key advice to visiting business partners: keep most of your body covered, but never adopt native clothing. Some locals may see that as extremely rude. It is also very hot in the UAE, but the climate should not affect your attire choices; your body is still supposed to remain relatively covered. This is due to their strong faith in Islam.

More gender-specific suggestions would include the following:

  • Gaudy and obvious accessories/jewelry should be avoided for men, especially necklaces.
  • Women should avoid pant suits and wear apparel that has a high neckline and sleeves that are no shorter than elbow-length.
  • Scarves might be convenient to carry around in case you are placed in a situation where you need to enter a mosque.