We’ve all heard the saying, “when in Rome, do as the Romans do.” This familiar statement can be very helpful when applied to international business, as there are a variety of minute differences that can influence the success of your interaction.
Direct eye contact is favored in the United States; it is considered both respectful and attentive. Yet, in some foreign countries, direct eye contact has a different connotation. For example, in Western Europe, direct eye contact can have flirtatious undertones and is generally avoided in public places. In Britain direct eye contact is thought to be uncomfortable and unnecessary.
When doing business abroad, it is important to take your international colleagues’ leads and “do as the Romans do.” Understanding how to communicate with foreign colleagues whether it is verbal or non-verbal forms of communication can only increase the chances for successful business relations. It is critical to invest time in educating yourself on how to do business with other cultures for profitable returns. The rewards will be worth the effort.