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Using Cross-Cultural-Intelligence to Avoid Painful Accidents in Developing Your Business Abroad

Have you ever:

  1. Handed your business card to your Japanese counterpart with one hand?

  2. Tried to arrange a business meeting in Tel Aviv on Friday?

  3. Turned down an invitation to karaoke after a business dinner in Seoul?

  4. Tried to introduce a new item not on the agenda at a business meeting in Geneva?

If you are guilty of any of these or similar social blunders, you may have limited your opportunities to do business with the organization you may have flown half-way around the world to meet.

As with any human activity, people tend to be more comfortable and more willing to do business with someone who displays an understanding and respect for how they usually do things. A modicum of CCI (cross-cultural intelligence) will reduce the social risks in dealing with you and improve your chances of developing a positive relationship. The ‘rules of the game’ are highly specific to each society and business culture but learning the basics usually does not take too much effort. Acting and responding correctly can pay outsized dividends, especially in the early stages of developing a relationship with a potential customer or supplier abroad.

The Centre has recently added three new resources from Business Insider, Hofstede Insights and Trade Ready to its toolkit of business resources to help you navigate different business cultures successfully. (

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