Hello SOTGC community,
When you’re preparing for your international business trip, no doubt you put a lot of thought into your suitcase, your professional dress, and I’m sure you carefully prepare your business notes. But what about your body language? Do you research before your business trip and learn the gestures and body language postures that you should and shouldn’t use in the country you’ll be visiting?
Body language is a critical part of our communication. It plays an important role in getting our message across to another person. When we’re in a conversation with somebody, it’s not only the words we use that carry our message, it’s also voice, and our body language.
When you’re an international business traveller, you need to be aware that the gestures and body language postures you use in your home country are not always appropriate or polite to use abroad.
I’ve compiled a list for you of the top 3 body language gestures to consider the next time you’re sent on an international assignment.
- Handshakes. In some countries, including parts of Europe, you may come off as overpowering if your handshake is too firm. Gauge and match the strength of your handshake with that of your international business partner.
- Eye contact. A firm handshake is often accompanied by direct eye contact in the US. If you’re doing business in Asia, using such direct eye contact could make you look aggressive. Take note of how much eye contact is used in that culture, and match it.
- Personal space. If you’re from the US, you probably stand about an arm’s length away from others during conversation. If you go to Latin America for business, an arm’s length may be too much space for the other person to feel they can connect with you. Try to stand your ground and avoid continually moving back during conversations.
Keep in mind these body language considerations the next time you travel internationally for business. Research the culture you will be visiting, or sign-up for international business etiquette coaching so you can learn the dos and don’ts, and avoid common body language mistakes on your international business trips.
Kara Ronin is the founder of Executive Impressions. She offers a wealth of practical advice and inspirational tips to move professionals toward an international mindset and an amazing corporate career. As part of Kara’s launch of her new eBook, “The Ultimate Networking Roadmap: Rise above fear to network with confidence and class!”, she’s offering a free gift, the “7-Step Networking Roadmap”, with every newsletter sign-up. Visit Executive Impressions to claim your free gift.
Photo credit: www.onlinemba.com