Mind your language – and your manners!admin
AA Global is an expert at showing businesses the importance of walking the walk as well as talking the talk when operating internationally.
Chief Executive Kirk Akdemir warns that any amount of commitment to mastering foreign words and phrases can still end in catastrophe if you overlook the customs and traditions of your prospective overseas clients.
Kirk said: “It is obviously a big help if you can communicate with your international business contacts in their own language. As the former German Chancellor Willy Brandt said, ‘If I am selling to you, I speak your language. If I am buying, dann müssen sie Deutsch sprechen.’
“But effective communication is about more than language skills. In some meetings you might want to relax and put your feet up, but in some cultures it is considered most offensive to display the soles of your shoes, even if you just rest one foot on your other knee.
“In some places it is considered poor etiquette to begin a meeting without first exchanging pleasantries and chatting generally, even about the weather but preferably about family and other interests. It helps to break the ice and build trust and will help you develop a good relationship.”