Whether online or in-person, overseas business meetings can be high pressure and a logistical challenge. That’s why we’ve pulled together our practical tips and steps to help.
You may be considering new overseas markets for your products or services. Successful meetings with new and existing clients based overseas are critical to ensuring your business performs well in your target markets. While the fundamentals may be the same, there are some things that must be taken into consideration when approaching international business meetings, such as local customs and who speaks what language. We highlight six simple steps to help you prepare for a smooth and successful overseas business meeting.
Six tips for overseas business meetings
Do your research
First things first, research your target market. When organising an overseas business meeting, researching the local customs and norms relating to business is crucial. What are the typical business hours? How do people greet one another with respect? Is there a particular dress code that needs to be adhered to? It’s critical to respect cultural norms when travelling overseas, and if you can get them right it’s a sure-fire way to gain respect. A great way to do this is by getting your hands on a travel guide or talking to some friendly contacts you may already have in the area. Take a look at our blog for some handy tips: Making the perfect first impression – Business culture and etiquette overseas
Brush up on your language skills
While English is still the leading language business of business, it’s not sensible to assume that everyone you meet with will speak it. Just take a look at this list of the top 10 business languages. Whether you’re able to speak the language of your target market fluently or would like to be able to welcome meeting delegates in their native language, put in some time ahead of the meeting to hone your language skills. Brushing up on your language skills shows a great deal of enthusiasm, respect and eagerness.
Pin down the logistics
Often with overseas business meetings, people will be travelling at different times and from different locations. To ensure smooth arrivals, departures and no missing delegates, formalising the travel details is important. Make a spreadsheet to document details and perhaps a checklist to ensure you’ve considered everything: flights, visas, taxis etc. This will help punctuality (expected and prized across many countries) and give you peace of mind leading up to the day.
Check technology compatibility
So much of what we do relies on technology and the last thing you need in a meeting is to arrive and find that you can’t plug in your laptop. Reach out to the venue beforehand and check what’s available there. Do you need adaptors? Or a projector? Will you need the internet? Maybe a connection to Skype to add in other callers if certain delegates are attending remotely? Checking these things ahead of time will reduce the likelihood that you’ll be caught off-guard in a potentially embarrassing situation.
Understand the business culture
Understanding how business culture works in your target market will help you to decide how to present to your clients. Some cultures place more value in written forms of communication, while others prefer the spoken word. To assist, why not read our blog on understanding business culture overseas to discover how your clients may prefer to conduct business? It’s good to know in advance to establish whether you need to spend time preparing extensive and detailed presentations and materials, or if you can win them over with a few key slides and your words.
Don’t forget the basics
With the added stress and complications of overseas travel, it’s easy to let the basics slide. These, however, are even more important in a meeting overseas. What are the objectives of the meeting? Who is attending? Have you got all your materials ready? Be prepared and an overseas meeting can be a success for all involved.
If you’re considering expanding your business abroad and would like some advice on translating and localising your business materials, please get in touch.