Why is cultural training important for Global Business? 

Many business professionals are no strangers to working abroad.  They may travel to meet with clients or suppliers, colleagues in satellite offices, take part in conferences or exhibitions or perhaps carry out international site visits.  Whatever the reason, the common denominator in most cases will be a need to communicate effectively in English.  

Native English speakers are extremely fortunate that they are able to travel largely without the need to learn another language, but this is not the case for all travellers.  Speaking English is certainly one element, but perhaps more importantly, cultural differences play a enormous role in successful business relations.   

Firstly, presentation skills differ massively from culture to culture – in China for instance you start every meeting by formally exchanging business cards (with both hands), and by taking the time to study those cards in detail before being invited to take your seat. The meeting will then take a very set format, and no steps should be left out if you hope for a successful outcome. In Germany however, you are more likely to get right down to business after a brief introduction and a handshake.    

In China you are expected to bring a well thought-out and high-quality gift which should be of professionally wrapped, having taken the time to get to know the person you are meeting in advance, and what type of gift would be most appropriate for them.   In the UK however, gifts are not generally expected but gratefully received, and generally business professionals prefer to keep information concise and to the point. 

Most meetings in the UK take around 1hr, whereas in Italy and Germany, presentations tend to be much longer in both format and timescales, and go into much greater detail.  If the latter style were to be used when presenting in a business environment in the UK, attendees would be likely to lose interest or become impatient after the first 10 slides, however the same presentation in a more Italian setting would be perfectly acceptable. 

Many of these behaviours can be learned through regular travel over long periods of time, but if you are new to an industry or venturing into new markets, preparing yourself culturally can be the difference between a successful or unsuccessful trip.  Business Professionals who take the time to research the behaviours and cultural differences of those they are meeting will invariably feel more prepared, leading to being received much more warmly than those who arrive unprepared or expecting conditions to be the same as they would be in their country of origin.  Taking the time to invest in high-quality and industry-specific Intercultural Training should be high on the list of priorities for businesses who are looking to become more Global in their reach.  There are many programme choices available to suit all budgets and schedules. 

In our experience, Intensive, Industry-Specific and Multi-Faceted Training programmes provide the best results for Business Professionals who are serious about presenting themselves in the best possible light.