Intercultural communication, do’s and don’ts

Although we know that everyone is different, naming of cultural differences may feel like a perilous undertaking. And yet, to avoid perilous blunders it is advisable to think "from abroad" to ones own country. From a presentation of Perry Willemse of Global Acquaintance we would like to point out the following tips.

Do I shake hands? Increase your success by knowing how to communicate with international clients or business partners. On the website www.rvo.nl you can find a lot of information per country on het landenoverzicht.
Build a multicultural team. You automatically learn the origin based communication patterns.
Get the right person in the right place through het Lewis Model: This culture model provides a good understanding of different communication styles and how they are connected to the cultural background of people and groups. Lewis describes three culture types with their specific characteristics. Well, of course, the world has a lot of mixed forms.
Accelerate successful business cooperation by understanding other people's cultures and business interests. An open door of course, but still good to delve into.
For doing business with China and Taiwan, knowledge of Guanxi is a must. What Guanxi means for the Chinese is extremely difficult to describe briefly. It means mutual shared obligations and services. It also includes meeting each other, honour, network, relationship. In China, maintaining personal relationships to get things done is indispensable and fully accepted. Take your time to build Guanxi to be able doing business successfully.
Be aware that Dutch quite easy can enter a country; as a small country we are no threat. We may be bold, we are also honest and that is appreciated.
Be aware of the difference in communication patterns, even the German style differs from the Dutch pattern.

The business culture in Germany is more formal than in the Netherlands
Etiquette is important and first-name basis is out of the question. However, the etiquette in sectors where many young people work is more loosely, for example in the IT and creative industries. German business culture is more legal than in the Netherlands. Germans tend to binding agreements in writing. They stick to what was agreed. At the same time a conflict is less likely to be settled amicably. A German businessman will also more quickly consult a lawyer.

German language
The main language is German, especially in the traditional small and medium-sized businesses. If you speak German, it will be greatly appreciated. Germans are perfectionists and therefore sometimes reluctant to speak English. In written German language errors are not tolerated. Correspondence must be written in flawless German. Have this preferably done by professionals.

Quality and references
Germans are keen on quality and credentials. There is much interest in product features and details. Prepare well for interviews. Excellent references are an important quality label for Germans. The same applies for hallmarks and other quality characteristics.

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