March 7, 2009
Typically, a meeting in an American office setting takes place 1) to convey an important message and/or 2) to finalize a decision. However, when doing business in Spain, do not expect the latter. Decisions are rarely reached at meetings. Instead, meetings serve as an open forum of discussion to share ideas.
Another thing to keep in mind is to not let interruptions get to you. While you may exchange ideas in a Spanish meeting, interruptions are actually considered a good thing since it shows that the person was listening to the conversation.
Here are other tips to consider when it comes to Spanish business meetings:
- Spanish people are usually indirect when they try to give their opinion, so watch for any nonverbal cues
- Business is rarely conducted in the first meeting since it serves more as an icebreaker between all of the attendants
February 28, 2009
Aside from being renowned for its vodka, Russia is probably the world’s largest bank of natural resources. Check out these impressive stats, courtesy of Wikipedia and the CIA World Factbook:
- Largest natural gas reserves in the world
- 2nd largest coal reserves in the world
- 8th largest oil reserves in the world
- Leading natural gas exporter in the world
- 2nd leading oil exporter in the world
With these impressive numbers, it’s no surprise that some countries would like to enhance their relationship with Russia. However, one big thing to remember while conducting business in Russia is patience.
While your Russian business partner might be 1-2 hours late, it is important that you remain calm. It is socially acceptable for Russian natives to be tardy but for foreigners to be punctual at all times. Patience is one of the most important virtues in Russian society. Thus, do not be surprised if your Russian business partner purposefully arrives late to test your patience.
Other tips to keep in mind include the following:
- Bring a business card that is printed on both sides (one side in English, the other in Russian)
- Avoid standing with your hands in your pockets or shaking hands with gloves as this is considered impolite
- Do not speak or laugh loudly; this is rude in the Russian culture
February 15, 2009
Hello! This is the blog for Lisa Twu from Dr. Dunn’s BA 324H class. I must admit, the in-class team intercultural communication activity last Wednesday got me thinking. While my group focused on India, I couldn’t help but wonder how other countries were like. Is there something that might seem completely innocent in the United States, but terribly offensive in some other nation?
I guess you could say I learned the answer to that question early on in life. It was Mother’s Day and I wanted to get my mom something nice. Flowers! Those are nice, right? I got her a nice bouquet of carnations. Something that looked a little bit like this:
I was quite proud of myself. The flowers were pretty; I had gotten a bouquet of carnations in all sorts of colors along with a cute card. The only problem was she thought the flowers (or some of them) represented death. So now, my gift (in her mind) was like this:
Why did she think of it that way? I found out later from my mom that the Chinese associate the color white with death. Therefore, any white carnation out of the bunch was immediately thrown out. Crazy, right? That’s what I thought at first. I had only gotten flowers! How did that even come close to conveying to my mom that I wanted her dead? I thought white represented purity and newness, but this little Mother’s Day experience allowed me to see that innocent gestures could be mistaken for rude actions.
Thus, it is with this blog that I intend to explore business communication in other countries. As companies continue to globalize, it’s important to know these little details to show your respect for the other party. To become further acquainted with the focus of my blog, please take note to the different pages (“What?” and “What if?”) in the modules on the right.
Thanks for visiting!