Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 31

GLOBAL & DOMESTIC OUTLOOK

W

hen working in other
countries and with people
of different cultures, you
make connections that can improve
your practice and give you new
perspectives and experiences that
will enrich future dealings. But
successfully making these connections often depends on mastering
some of the subtle differences in
business cultures around the world.
To make a good impression on your
next trip abroad, follow our guide
to protocol in 10 different places.

SOUTH AFRICA

JAPAN

RUSSIA

Travelers to Japan should prepare to take
business cards seriously. The rules for
exchanging cards in Japan, part of a custom known
as meishi koukan, are more formal than in America,
where quick handoffs are the norm. Cards should
always be given and received with two hands,
handed face down to the receiver, and kept on
display throughout the course of the introduction
or meeting. Finally, business cards should be kept
in pristine condition - a creased or damaged card
is a sign of disrespect.

INDIA

In India, society places a high value on formality and respect for hierarchy.
Generally, formal titles are preferred for people like
doctors and professors, and sometimes the honorific suffix Ji is used, particularly for older and more
senior individuals. Indian businesses are usually
quite hierarchical, so do not expect people to make
important decisions regarding contracts or business
arrangements on behalf of their supervisors.

iStock
Shutterstock

Travelers to South Africa should be prepared for
a diverse, multicultural country - it is, after all,
known as the Rainbow Nation. South African
business culture relies heavily on the trust

that comes from person-to-person relationships, and South Africans prefer face-to-face
meetings to phone calls or email. As part of this
personal approach, your South African counterpart
may invite you to dinner at his or her home, so
remember to bring a gift for your host or hostess.

BRAZIL

In Brazil, be prepared to dress for success.
Despite the country's tropical climate, the dress
code for business meetings is conservative, not
casual. A suit and tie for men and a blouse and skirt
or dress pants for women are expected. Despite
this, business meetings are frequently held in more
informal locations like cafes or restaurants, usually
over coffee or lunch.

NIGERIA
THE MIDDLE EAST
Much like in South Africa, the business culture in the
Middle East puts a high value on personal
relationships. When meeting people for the
first time, be prepared for a long handshake. Also,
keep in mind that many in the region value verbal
agreements more than written ones, so always be
sure that you are able to follow through on any
verbal commitments before making them.

When scheduling meetings in Russia, be sure to
arrive on time. Russians value punctuality, but
with one big exception: Government officials are
notorious for delayed meetings, a holdover from
the era of Soviet bureaucracy. In either case, be sure
to confirm the meeting's agenda and attendees in
advance.

MEXICO

If you are traveling to Mexico on business, be sure
to bring an appetite. Business lunches play a
key role in developing personal connections with
your counterparts and cementing a business relationship. Be prepared for meals that start late, often
between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m., and that last two hours
or more. And, like in Japan, be sure to bring plenty
of business cards.

Sometimes in Nigeria, "yes" doesn't always
mean yes. Agreeing with someone is frequently
seen as a sign of respect in Nigeria, which means
that business partners might hesitate to voice their
reservations or objections. Be sure to allow time for
additional rounds of negotiation or meetings so
that all participants can feel comfortable expressing
what they need and want from a business
arrangement.

FINLAND

"Silence is golden" can take on a whole new
meaning if you're holding a business meeting in
Finland. In the famously reserved Nordic country, it
is not unusual for there to be two- or three-minutelong pauses in discussion during meetings. Don't
worry about wasting time, though. Finnish culture
eschews small talk in favor of getting down to
business.

FRANCE

The French reputation for style is well
earned, and it naturally extends to the world of
business. Casual Fridays are a faux pas in France, so
don't expect to see jeans and sneakers in the office.
Also, don't overdo it when shaking hands. A quick,
light shake is enough.

*

MAY 2019

*

WASHINGTON LAWYER

31


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Washington Lawyer - May 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - May 2019

Digital Extras
Your Voice
From Our President
Practice Management
Calendar Of Events
Cybersecurity Rules & Risks For The International Lawyer
Borders, Refugees & A Global Crisis
Climate Change: Turning To Law In Race Against Time
Member Spotlight
Global & Domestic Outlook
Worth Reading
Media Bytes
Attorney Briefs
Ask The Ethics Experts
Disciplinary Summaries
The Pro Bono Effect
Community & Connections
Special Coverage: Youth Law Fair @ 20
Last Word
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 1
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 2
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 3
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Digital Extras
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Your Voice
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - From Our President
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 7
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Practice Management
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 9
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Calendar Of Events
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 11
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Cybersecurity Rules & Risks For The International Lawyer
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 13
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 14
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 15
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 16
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 17
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Borders, Refugees & A Global Crisis
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 19
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 20
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 21
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Climate Change: Turning To Law In Race Against Time
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 23
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 24
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 25
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 26
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 27
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Member Spotlight
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 29
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Global & Domestic Outlook
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 31
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Worth Reading
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Media Bytes
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Attorney Briefs
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 35
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Ask The Ethics Experts
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 37
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Disciplinary Summaries
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 39
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - The Pro Bono Effect
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 41
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 42
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 43
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Community & Connections
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 45
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Special Coverage: Youth Law Fair @ 20
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 47
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Last Word
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Cover4
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