Sunday, January 25, 2009
Polite or Rude? A Challenge of Global Business
We know from experience, from stories we’ve heard, that what’s the definition of acceptable business behavior varies from company to company (high tech start up casual - law firm formal), city to city (LA - New York) and even more so county to country (Germany - Mexico).
But it isn’t only what we do that varies; most importantly it’s also how we define polite or rude. Reuters did a global study of “workplace manners” and now tells us that swearing which can lead to a hostile work environment lawsuit in the US is acceptable for 25% of Australians and that the United States and Britain are the two most sensitive countries. (www.reuters.com/lifestyle/workplacemanners.)
Don’t lose a deal because you inadvertently insulted someone by not offering a cup of coffee or by asking too many personal questions. Do some research and be considered polite wherever you go.