I have worked with over 65 nationalities from all over the world.
I am asked many times about my experiences. Last week someone popped a question: “What is the most important skill when working with foreigners.”
There are a lot of skills needed and to be learned. Patience is the one that stood out amongst all the others.
1. You will need a lot of patience as business deals can take a lot of time.
It is often a matter of trust rather than money or quality. You would probably not give your house key to a new neighbor so soon, when going away on holiday. Enjoy the journey, in the end it will be more meaningful.
2. Social lunches and dinners might be part of their culture. So, take your time and appreciate being part of the occasion. It is most often an honour to have you join them and it can also be a valuable learning experience for you.
3. You might be fluent in English; perhaps your hosts are not so fluent. Do not try to impress or embarrass anyone by speaking English fast.
Be patient, talk slowly, repeat and summarize the conversation. That way you will avoid mistakes and your hosts will feel comfortable with you and what you have to say.
4. Be prepared for a meeting with a foreign client. There is no rush to meet and greet in the fast lane. They might need some time to adjust to the time zone and country. You will get far more done with your foreign client, when they feel comfortable and well rested.
5. Do not interject to quick. First let the conversation flow. You can have your say a bit later. Also, there is nothing wrong with being an observer first. This might even be an advantage. We have two ears and one mouth, use both ears as a primary.
6. Do not plan too much in the day or week. Be flexible and be prepared to have the meeting later in the week. You might have to postpone your flight a day or two later. But patience is the key.
7. Do not jump on that opportunity too quick. Read about the culture and country or take training in cross cultural differences with Global Etiquettes. You will waste a lot of time and money, if you are not aware and have not got the knowledge of other cultures.