There’s a more social approach to business in Australia. After meetings at the office are held it can continue socially at restaurants or pubs. Sometimes there may be even be personal invites to people’s houses for BBQ’s. This is just as important as the main meeting to build that relationship and get to know the client better.
Dress style is largely smart causal rather than full business suits. More conservative businesses will certainly still dress more formally but in many cases being ‘overdressed’ will not be seen as a sign of respect as it might be in the UK.
The more you look into global business culture, the more apparent differences become and the potential impact this can have on working relationships and networking abroad.
But it is also important to remember there are no guarantees with doing business in other cultures - no matter how much you know. People and cultures are always full of surprises. That is why the most important thing is to be curious at all times. Even if you are in a familiar situation or with a client or colleague you feel you know well, try not to make assumptions.
Consider cultural differences an opportunity to explore, not just the differences but what they mean and how they developed.
What does that ambition look like? Well, make sure you truly observe what people are saying and doing, ask questions about what you observe and lastly, share information about cultural norms you are used to and the reasoning behind it. It takes real understanding to make a success of doing business abroad.
By Alyssa Bantle, Global Curriculum Manager, Intercultural & Language Training, Crown World Mobility