Virtual assistants from our company work with clients from different countries, that’s why they have vast experience in communication with foreign partners.
When it comes to communication with foreign partners, it is necessary to take into account the peculiarities of national business etiquette. There is great number of business communication nuances with foreigners, because each nation has its own special aspects that must be considered. The ability to give an answer for any question plays an important role for virtual assistant in business communication. In such cases, it is necessary to grasp the distinction between bad manners, rudeness and tediousness. According to standards of business etiquette, for the question “How are you?” it is necessary to answer “I’m fine, thank you.” However, in conversation with Czechs, Slovaks and Poles you are expected to tell a brief story about your problems as an answer.
Pay attention to the following advices from our virtual assistants in order not to get into hot water when communicating with foreign partners on business. This information may be useful for VAs’ teams, too.
What about business communication with British partners, you have to be aware not to interference in their private life. A little careless question can immediately put an end to rapprochement, as they consider it bad manners. Usually, they behave reserved, calm, respectful and do not express the generalized or categorical judgments. Any revelation of deceit or trick will lead to their particular reaction – British partners will simply finish the conversation. A distinctive feature of the British entrepreneurs is orderliness. If they understand that their partners are ready to break the law, they won’t deal with them. They also strongly defend the principles related to the moral values. Avoid discussing their private lives, money, religion, royal family life or celebrities, keep the distance and be punctual.
During the conversation, British partners can listen to you patiently and attentively without asking a single question, but it does not mean that they agree with you. Their silence can’t be regarded as a silent consent with your arguments. When you finish, they will outline all the points of disagreement and consistency of your arguments. If you start to interrupt and comment their explanation with indignation, they won’t argue with you. In this case, be prepared for the fact that the British partners will cease to work with you.
Considering business etiquette in conversations with French partners, remember that they do not like to go beyond designated, to change the point of view, to make adjustments in the course of negotiations. They pay great attention to the preliminary agreements. They like to explore all aspects and implications thoroughly of the received proposals, therefore negotiations with them are a much slower pace. Any attempt to speed up the process of conversation can only harm the deal. When discussing the issues, French partners are traditionally focused on a method of logical proof. They negotiate hard enough and, as a rule, do not have a “Plan B”. French partners can interrupt the interlocutor to express criticism or counter-arguments, but they are not inclined to bargain. Comparing with the Americans, they are less free and independent when making a final decision. In general, French businesspeople are very gallant, refined, tend to adhere to etiquette, while they behave relaxed and opened for dialogue. They appreciate the intelligence, the ability to conduct a talk skillfully, to form the terms of contracts and transactions accurately. If you show that you’re interested in French culture and language (though poor knowledge of the French language is perceived with annoyance), you’ll get an appreciation.
You may not be too punctual with Spanish partners, in business matters they do not like to adhere to the agreed terms. Any minor issue can become the subject of a lively discussion for them, so, the conversation can be too lengthy and wordy that you may feel exhausted in the end. The conversation can be interrupted all the time with some inserts, jokes, unexpected stories. Siesta for the Spanish workers is a sacred thing, so try not to make appointments with them at this time. They are very emotional people, so during business communication they do not accept the indifference.
Thus, such features can characterize the German business etiquette: the desire for order, discipline, punctuality, economy, meticulousness. The main distinctive feature of the German business manner is formality. All meetings and common actions should be appointed in advance. They regard sudden changes and offers very disapprovingly. Professionalism is appreciated as a highly valuable point. However, the Germans are quite sociable and tend to allow a little dissipation. They love to present facts and examples, use figures, schemes, diagrams. During conversation with them you have to be logical in reasoning and precise in stating facts. They value honesty and integrity. In general, Germans usually insist on the implementation of the commitments and high fines in case of non-compliance.
Business culture is becoming more universalized for the countries around the world. But the borders between countries are not just lines. There are still differences in customs and mindsets of different nations. So, communicating with foreign partners is about learning their traditions of business etiquette and take into account the advices above. Train your VA teams, and your business communication will become effective and fruitful.