The United States and Europe are both considered the “Western World,” but there are definitely distinct differences between the two. Many Americans tend to work fifty hours a week or more. Very few Europeans work over forty hours a week.
A two hundred year old church in the U.S. may seem ancient to us. The word “ancient” doesn’t make sense to Europeans unless the church is over a thousand years old. So you can imagine what the EU thinks of the US when it comes to international business travel. American VIP’s looking to audit overseas assets may need some help with understanding subtle differences.
Many times an American’s knowledge of “how things are done” in other countries can be limited. If a new executive is traveling on business overseas, they may have to brush up on their cultural norms. While in France and Spain it’s normal to greet business partners with a warm handshake and kiss on the check, other countries find it offensive to be touched at all. As a corporate security consultant, we believe part of a safe and successful overseas trip includes smart cultural communication.
IMG’s International Corporate Security Experts help Travelling VIP’s See the Signs
Simple cultural differences can make common American behaviors appear rude. Even if that’s the exact opposite of what the travelling employee means. For instance, waving and making the peace sign while departing from a meeting may seem like a cool way to thank a new business partner. Unfortunately, in Ireland and the UK it’s equal to flipping someone the bird. Also, if you need to blow your nose in France, find a bathroom pronto. These mistakes may not cause a dangerous overseas security problem, but they can create unwanted tension with overseas business colleagues. You know IMG’s international corporate security experts are always there for safety questions, but did you know that we answer cultural questions to help a trip run smoother? A quick click on the FoneTrac app can get a VIP in touch with a translator ready to offer advice.
A travelling VIP who can “see” the subtle differences in culture may also save themselves time as well as embarrassment. English translations to other languages can have hosts scratching their heads at your employee. For instance, if your VIP is still learning the fine differences in French, they could be asking their business partners to meet them at the alter instead of the hotel (L’Autel/L’Hotel). No problem. IMG’s international corporate security experts have tools via FoneTrac and GlobalSecure to get the translation right. If your employee is struggling with the nuances of another culture during business, a quick call will have an IMG translator help clear up the message.
Photo credit: Leonid Mamchenkov via Foter.com / CC BY