Business Etiquette from Around the World

There’s more that we have in common, than what divides us. Never a truer saying has been uttered that when it comes to business etiquette. Sure, there’s certain nuances from around the globe, be it continent or country level, and more often than not, these subtle differences are nothing more than forms of politeness. However, if you’re going to start doing business with a different country, it is of course advised to take in to account anything out of the norm for you, like a bow, or the way you hand over/receive a business card, if say, doing business in Japan – yes, while subtle, the way you handover and receive a business card is a matter of politness, so to is the look and feel of your business card. In your back pocket and looking a bit shabby? Hmm, that’s not going to go down too well.

But when it comes to a conference call, there’s international etiquette that we are all bound by.

  • Be prompt. No one, absolutely no one likes it when attendees to a meeting are late. It not only puts others schedules out, or gives shortens length of meeting, but all other attendees are sitting idle, expenses of doing nothing.
  • Agenda. We’ve discussed in the past why conference calls suck (it’s not the service, it’s you (the host)). One key aspect of a call, happens before the call even starts – making sure there’s a clear agenda so attendees are not taken by surprise. This, also gives attendees a heads up to give reason to dismiss the meeting, or not. And, believe it or not, meetings with no clear agenda are a source of great anxiety for many.
  • Make it actionable. “Today, the sky is blue”. Great, thanks for that, but so what? Some hosts just love the sound of their own voice and will bang on like a trooper about everything under the sun. The agenda is a good starting point, but after an hours worth of meetings, you want to know it is of benefit, i.e., people can go away from meeting with clear actions to take.
  • Notes. Oh boy. The big one. And it’s the big one because, anyone that’s played Chinese whispers as a kid, will know, that the great intentions set out at beginning can often be quite different to the outcome. Clear, concise notes are imperative to success, and without them, good luck in flushing the companies money down the drain. We’ve covered how to take perfect notes while on a conference call, here.

For further reading, see; Love or HATE conference calls?