Before Your Next Trip Overseas…

Travelling abroad for work can often be an exciting and rewarding perk of your career. It is an opportunity to visit a new place, meet new people and see new sights. Often, traveling abroad for work isn’t always just about work, and usually involves some leisure time as well.

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You will be conducting business with those you are traveling to meet, and perhaps even travelling around the city or country with them as well during some leisure time.

As much as your mind is (and should be) focused on the important meetings to come, it is imperative that you take the time to do some research on the culture you will be visiting before you leave the comfort of your home. Ed Fuller from Marriott International, details the importance of knowing about others’ culture while traveling, in his article for Forbes Magazine.

Before you leave on your trip, consider completing some of the following exercises so that you can get the most out of your business trip, which will benefit both you personally, as well as the company you represent.

Watch YouTube videos

YouTube videos are a great way to see and hear about a foreign culture. Videos might be the most effective research tool, as you get both sound and movement, and can really start to appreciate the culture of a certain country.

There are also endless videos out there, and so finding appropriate ones should be fairly simple. For instance, you can search “traditional Peruvian meal” and watch how a meal might be cooked as well as consumed. You may also search things such as “traditional Indian dance” or “Moroccan cultural ceremonies.”

Learn your “hello’s” and “goodbye’s”

It is always a good idea to learn a few basic words or phrases in the language of the country you are visiting. Not only will it show that you did your research (this will likely be viewed as a sign of respect), but it is a great way to connect with others on a deeper level, which may help to foster and grow professional relationships.

If you don’t have a great memory, or if you don’t have time to sit and memorize how to say “thank you” in Swahili, create a cheat sheet before you leave that you can study on your 24 flight to Kenya. 

Pick up a small travel guide of your destination 

Many bookstores sell small travel guides to the majority of popular destinations. In them, you’ll find a plethora of information on the country in question in a(n often) very small package, one that you can likely take with you in your carry-on. It will outline many common phrases, places to eat, and sights to see.

The fact that this is a business trip, as opposed to a leisure vacation, indicates that it is important to learn as much about the new culture as possible. This will reflect extremely well on you as a business professional, which will also translate back to your company. Present your best and most informed self, especially when traveling for business.

 

Etiquette for The Summer Barbecue

Summer is the long-awaited and much anticipated season; dresses, patios, and of course, summer barbecues. In recent years, barbeques have grown in popularity as an easy, fun, and delicious way of getting people together. They have also spilled over into the professional world and have become an informal setting for colleagues get together outside of the office

bbqOffice barbecues can be a great place to get to know your colleagues, and perhaps even your superiors, on a more personal level, given the informal and relaxed setting.

Although the term “barbecue” holds many connotations (such as informal, fun, relaxed, and beer), there are still some etiquette rules to abide by, especially when the barbecue in question is one filled with colleagues and/or superiors. Many of the same rules in effect at a holiday cocktail party still hold true at an informal barbecue.

Never arrive ravenous

 It is important to not show up to the barbeque on an empty stomach.

  • Think of the barbecue as an incredible opportunity to network in a new space – and a comfortable one at that – where others are likely feeling relaxed and happy. Can you say the same when you are trying to network in an office setting? Don’t focus all your time on the food!
  • Have a few snacks before you arrive, so that you’re not immediately drawn to the food. Of course, it is important to indulge in what is offered so as not to offend the host.
  • Start with a small portion of what is being offered (don’t bombard your plate with a mountain of BBQ’d ribs). If it was so delicious that you must have more, make sure others have eaten first before getting seconds.

Do not drink in excess

It is sometimes easy to drink one-too-many beers when you’re in someone’s backyard, on a bright and sunny afternoon. However, you must keep in mind that this is still a work function, and there are lots of important eyes on you.

  • Pace yourself with the alcohol. After each drink, switch to a glass of water, and try to limit yourself to two, maybe three drinks total.
  • Try to stick with one kind of alcohol throughout the barbecue. As the widely known rhyme goes: “beer before liquor, makes you sicker.”
  • Snack throughout the barbeque – if you’re going to be drinking for a few consecutive hours, it is imperative that you are also eating (which is also why it’s a good idea to have some snacks before you arrive!).

Try to reach everyone, at least once

Barbecues can be a gift for those who might struggle with the idea of networking. It is much easier to network, and get to know others, when everyone is in a wonderful mood, relaxing in the sunshine and drinking sangria.

  • Try to connect with everyone at the barbeque at least once. If you talk to the same group of people throughout the event, think of all the potential new contacts you didn’t
  • Although you likely work with most of the people at the party, colleagues may have brought guests. It’s always a good idea to bring business cards so that you’re prepared if and when someone asks you for your information.

Just like any other office party, barbecues can be a great place to relax, enjoy, and get to know your colleagues on a deeper level. Although they are often informal and casual, the same etiquette rules of a fancy Christmas party still apply! Remember, if you’re surrounded by colleagues and/or superiors, you’re still working!

Rules of Table Manners for New Recruits

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Let’s face it, we’ve all been nervous one time or another when we’ve had to go out for a job interview meeting over lunch or a formal business dinner with a client, and we question ourselves – am I doing this right? Especially when you’re a new recruit a business lunch with your boss can make you uneasy.

All that cutlery or not knowing what to do or how to act can get overwhelming! The key is once you know the exact rules of table manners at the dining table – you can be at ease, portray a sense of class and land that job or gain an important business client.

As published on Boston.com, here are some easy to follow rules of table manners and dining etiquette for new recruits:

1. Be on time. Make sure you leave enough time to walk from public transportation or to park. If you end up arriving early, wait in the lobby. Don’t sit at the table.

2. Turn off your smartphone before you arrive. Enough said.

3. Let your host (who may be your boss) indicate where you and the other guests should sit.

4. Don’t order alcohol unless others do first. If you do order a drink, then follow the one-drink rule. It’s easy to lull yourself into believing you can hold your liquor. Unfortunately, with alcohol you start sounding and acting impaired long before you realize it. All it takes is one too many, and you’ll be apologizing the next day for your behavior and hoping you haven’t ruined your reputation. Don’t risk your business future. Follow the one-drink rule, or better yet avoid alcohol altogether at a business meal.

5. When ordering from a menu pick medium-priced items, make sure you know what you’re ordering, and choose items that are easy to eat. There are usually plenty of mid-priced items on a menu, and it would be embarrassing to order something and then realize there’s no way you could ever eat it. Similarly, stay away from foods that are challenging (lobster) or messy (spaghetti) to eat. (I love mussels, but they’re messy. Great when I’m with friends, but not at a business lunch or dinner.)

6. Watch your host for signals such as to how to eat specific foods and when to start eating. If your host uses a fork to eat his shrimp cocktail, then you should, too. If your host has been served but hasn’t started eating, then you should wait, too.

7. Don’t chew with your mouth open or talk with your mouth full of food. It’s really gross.

8. Be a participant. Don’t dominate the general conversation, but do be a part of it. And when the table conversation quiets down, take a moment to talk with the person on your right and similarly be sure to talk with the person on your left. Your participation is the key to successfully navigating a business meal.

9. Don’t ask for a “to-go” bag.

10. Finally, be sure to thank your host at the end of the meal and again the next day in a quick note.

Knowing the rules of table manners is a basic necessity. How you conduct yourself at the table says a lot about you. To get a complete overview of everything you need to know about dining etiquette you might find Corporate Class Inc.’s Executive Dining Etiquette CD helpful!

With 50-mintues of enjoyable practical hands-on instructions, this unique CD uses a common sense approach. You get a true dining/video experience: you are seated at the dining table with simultaneous images, voice and text summaries.

Don’t head to your next power lunch without getting your Executive Dining Etiquette CD today!

 

Dining Etiquette in China – 10 Must-Know Tips for Business Travelers

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dining etiquette in chinaAs the world grows smaller, you may find yourself travelling from one major city to another for business. If you’re a leading executive you know that major business deals are signed not only in the boardroom, but at the golf course and the dining table. With that being said, international business etiquette, including dining etiquette plays a major role when it comes to conducting business successfully in foreign nations.

Did you know that there are thousands of people who travel to China every year for business? No matter where you travel, being sensitive of other cultures and learning the codes of how locals conduct themselves can earn you valuable points. The Chinese take their food seriously. Contrary to Western dining, dining etiquette in China involves sharing food from common bowls.

If you’re travelling to China to sign a major corporate business deal, pay heed to these top 10 dining etiquette rules by Sally Huang, who hails from Guangzhou, China, before you head out to your next Chinese business dinner:

1. Attend the formal business dinner punctual in formal suits. It is better to bring some small gifts or good win per status of the relationship with the host.

2. Take appropriate seat as they are usually arranged according to seniority. If you are not sure about it, ask the host or wait and see how others take seats.

3. Don’t be surprised if your host orders more food than you can have as it is usually the way Chinese show their hospitality. Moreover, it is a way to show their “Mian zi”, namely face in English as Chinese attach great importance to mianzi.

To reiterate it further, Mianzi, or “face” in English, can loosely be translated to “status” or “self-respect”. A huge part of Chinese social etiquette, having “face” means you are viewed as someone who is respected by your peers, superiors and subordinates. Mianzi can also be understood as the avoidance of embarrassment in front of others.

4. Don’t point your chopsticks directly at others or straight upright in your rice bowl as it resembles the incense burnt at funerals.

5. Don’t slurp your soup loudly at the dinner table as it is considered as impolite.

6. Take food first from the plates in front of you rather than those in the middle or in front of others. Avoid using your chopsticks burrowing through the food and gazing your eyes to the plates as it is thought as bad table manners.

7. Use a spoon that no one has used before to take food from communal plates for yourself or others even though it is common in China that in family gathering or company gathering, people use their own chopsticks to get food.

8. When adding rice to your bowl, it is polite to take initiative to fill the bowls of the elders and others.

9. Drinking bear is a core process. If you are toasting with others, usually it is expressed with the words “Gan bei”, which is denoted as “Cheers” in English, mainly bottoms up or empty your glass. It is not necessary to empty your glass, but to leave a good impression, it would be good to do it or bring someone who can drink on your part.

10. It is usually the host who pays for the bill excluding informal gatherings among friends and other similar occasions. However, in Chinese custom, it is polite to make an effort to pay, that’s the reason why it is common to see some Chinese fighting fierce for the right to pay.

Learning about dining etiquette in China or any other country can give you a major advantage in procuring the deal, especially if you’re competing with other firms.

Talk to Diane Craig before you head out to foreign lands to procure your next business deal. Her international etiquette tips might just be the difference between returning with your head held high – or down.

 

Dining Etiquette Matters – Eating Your Way to Success

Don’t eat another important business meal without reading this first!

Let’s take three scenarios. An international client is visiting and you have a lunch meeting. A potential commercial partner suggests you go out for dinner. You are attending your first corporate annual holiday banquet.

You are confidant, charming, sharp and dressed for success. But what about your table manners? Place your fork the wrong way and your international client is not impressed. Eat the bread of your potential partner’s plate and she starts to question your judgement. Argue with the waiter and your colleagues think you can be a real jerk. In today’s climate of rising globalism, dining etiquette can make or break your success.

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