How to Prepare For Your First Business Meeting Abroad

It can be quite intimidating walking into your first business meeting abroad. After all, you’ve just learned the language and may feel a little rusty. However, there’s no better way to put your new language acquisition to the test than through immersion! Understandably, you’re nervous. Here are a few tips to keep calm and be successful.

  1. Prepare a detailed itinerary: Before the craziness of your trip ensues, sit down in peace and write out a well-thought-out plan for your stay. What are your goals and priorities? Make sure your meetings and appointments are planned and confirmed, spacing them out throughout the course of the day so as to avoid becoming overwhelmed. Crowded agendas only add stress to your schedule, so make it flexible enough to allow for unexpected problems such as transportation delays, unplanned luncheon invitations and communication snafus, suggests Inc. Leave your complete itinerary with a business colleague or family member so someone knows where you are at all times.
  2. Find out about the local culture: Take some time to learn about the customs, traditions, history and culture of the region you’re visiting. You can do this by researching online and in travel books or even attending cross-cultural seminars or training. Know the differences in negotiating styles, how important punctuality is, and gift-giving customs. Understand what constitutes rude and acceptable behavior in that country. Make one small mistake and it could unknowingly cost you a business deal. For example, in Japan, you would be considered rude if you were late to an important business meeting; however, showing up late to a social occasion such as a party is acceptable. In the Middle East, it’s customary to engage in small talk before delving into any business matters.
  3. Making connections: If you are traveling for a business trip, you will most definitely need your laptops, notebooks, cell phones, and PDAs. This means you’ll need a way to charge them. Find out what adapters you can use while overseas. Call your cell phone provider to sign up for an affordable international plan.
  4. Protect your health: Get travel insurance to help with any financial losses that may occur if you get sick or encounter a natural disaster while abroad. Depending on your destination country, you may need certain vaccinations before you can be allowed to land there. Talk with your health plan carrier to flesh out your coverage options while on business in another land.
  5. Know the local language: Now’s the time to put your new language skills to the test. However, while you may know the language itself fairly well, you should familiarize yourself with the local slang and dialect. Different situations and wording may have vastly different meanings in another country. With BRIC Language Systems, you can learn those subtle differences in language so that when the time comes to interact, you can pull it all off flawlessly.