I found a very interesting website today while surfing for information about business relationships in foreign countries.
Here you will find a list of countries. Let's compare!
. French business emphasizes courtesy and a fair degree of formality.
. Wait to be told where to sit.
. Maintain direct eye contact while speaking.
. Business is conducted slowly. You will have to be patient and not appear ruffled by the strict adherence to protocol.
. Avoid confrontational behaviour or high-pressure tactics. It can be counterproductive.
. The French will carefully analyze every detail of a proposal, regardless of how minute.
. Business is hierarchical. Decisions are generally made at the top of the company.
. The French are often impressed with good debating skills that demonstrate an intellectual grasp of the situation and all the ramifications.
. Never attempt to be overly friendly. The French generally compartmentalize their business and personal lives.
. Discussions may be heated and intense.
. High-pressure sales tactics should be avoided. The French are more receptive to a low-key, logical presentation that explains the advantages of a proposal in full.
. When an agreement is reached, the French may insist it be formalized in an extremely comprehensive, precisely worded contract.
Arrive on time for meetings since time and punctuality are so important to Americans. In the Northeast and Midwest, people are extremely punctual and view it as a sign of disrespect for someone to be late for a meeting or appointment. In the Southern and Western states, people may be a little more relaxed, but to be safe, always arrive on time, although you may have to wait a little before your meeting begins.
Meetings may appear relaxed, but they are taken quite seriously. If there is an agenda, it will be followed. At the conclusion of the meeting, there will be a summary of what was decided, a list of who will implement which facets and a list of the next steps to be taken and by whom. If you make a presentation, it should be direct and to the point. Visual aids should further enhance your case. Use statistics to back up your claims, since Americans are impressed by hard data and evidence.
With the emphasis on controlling time, business is conducted rapidly. Expect very little small talk before getting down to business. It is common to attempt to reach an oral agreement at the first meeting. The emphasis is on getting a contract signed rather than building a relationship. The relationship may develop once the first contract has been signed.
If you plan to use an agenda, be sure to forward it to your British colleagues in sufficient time for them to review it and recommend any changes.
Punctuality is important in business situations. In most cases, the people you are meeting will be on time. Scots are extremely punctual. Call if you will be even 5 minutes later than agreed. Having said that, punctuality is often a matter of personal style and emergencies do arise. If you are kept waiting a few minutes, do not make an issue of it. Likewise, if you know that you will be late it is a good idea to telephone and offer your apologies.
How meetings are conducted is often determined by the composition of people attending:
In general, meetings will be rather formal:
What do you think?
It is always very important to look at information we find not as TRUTH but information we should compare, analyze, discuss...