1. Learn a bit about the culture you're travelling into
There are always some rules that businessman follow in every country, However, it’s better to learn the business culture of other countries as it may have differences and unexpected traditions. Nevertheless, every successful corporate traveler should remember the basic worldwide etiquette rules no matter what country he is in: necessity being on-time, giving a firm handshake and a wearing smart casual or a business suit.
Customs and etiquette can vary from one country to another. For example, in Asia, handing over a business card carefully with both hands, the receiver noting the details on it, and then placing it in their shirt pocket (not pants pocket) is a symbol of a huge respect and a traditional ice-breaker in a meeting. In China, a firm Aussie-style hand-shake can be perceived as aggressive, while a light handshake with a slight nod of the head is absolutely acceptable.
2. Don’t forget to separate business and personal
It is obvious that during your trip you’re going to have a harder time separating yourself from the group. Of course, it doesn’t mean that you will have no time to take care of personal matters. But it is still very significant not to forget to distinguish personal relationship from the business one. Teambuilding issues and friendly atmosphere in the group is always important in business. But try not to make things too friendly and close. Remember that you are not making a simple tour, first of all, it is a business trip. That’s why personal calls, for example, you should be accurate and make them only in case you’re alone. Remember, no matter how close, business partners and associates don’t need to hear you making up with your wife or yelling at your kids to finish their homework.
3. Be a professional
Any travel, even a business one is associated with some kind of rest, change of scene, fresh experience and fun. Business travel is not an exception. When you're travelling with the colleagues, you also relax, a bit less than in an ordinary travel. but you feel less stressed than you might in the office. But remember the fact that when you go back to work, the normal professional relationship will resume.
Don’t forget that you should not over-sharing colleagues' personal details with other colleagues, or your hosts, who might not have been already aware of them. Commenting on a colleague's family, personal appearance, previous holidays, and so on, can cause uncomfortable moments on the trip or back home.
4. Be a generous tipper
Knowing local tipping habits is especially important when traveling outside of the country. You’ll not only avoid embarrassment by tipping correctly, but is a sign of respect and sincere interest toward the cultural difference.
Generally it’s appropriate to tip 20% for servers and bartenders, 10% for taxi drivers, and at least $5 for concierge and housekeeping staff at your hotel. However, many international destinations have very different tipping policies, so make a careful research before leaving the country. As a business traveler, you’ll likely be returning to same restaurants and hotels, time and time again – whether alone, with business associates or prospective business partners, you’ll want to be sure that staff remember you in a positive light.
5. Be appropriately social.
Business travel means making as many connections. As a representative of your company, you’ll be expected to get out there as much as possible to establish relationships, in and out of the office setting. As a business traveler, you are an investment in the relationships you are creating, so no matter how well you are connecting or how much fun you’re having always keep in mind the business aspect. Being social – but not too social, is a delicate balance. Know when to call it a night, and follow the lead of your host or boss whenever possible; and if ever in doubt, call it a night.
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YYZ Travel Group is a registered agency with the Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO) under Ontario Registration #04332359.
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By: Alex Price
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