Whether you are working
on assignment or socializing on your own time, others will judge you and
your company on your behavior and appearance. If you want to be an Ambassador
of American values when traveling abroad, attract more business and bring
credibility to your company or organization, then projecting a positive
image is vital to your success.
Most Americans would
like to be known as gracious, groomed, well mannered, courteous, accommodating,
culturally aware and professional at all times. Wishing doesn't make it
so but increasing your awareness of how others perceive you is a beginning.
Learning and practicing more effective ways of behaving is the key --
practicing them over and over until the new behaviors become a permanent
and automatic part of your repertoire. You will then engage in these behaviors
- Know how to
say what you do and what the company or organization does in 15 seconds.
People have short attention spans. Example: "We are an international
relations consulting firm". Example: "We are an international special
event and hospitality firm." What is the most succinct way to say what
you do??? You want to intrigue the listener to ask more questions not
turn them off with a hard sales pitch that is "me" focused. Encounters
that are more like informational interviews help the other person to
feel valued rather than put upon. "Spamming" in person isn't any more
effective than it is on the Internet.
- Pursue a marketing
strategy of "Attraction vs. Promotion." If you conduct yourself
with self-confidence then others will naturally be attracted to you.
Personal charm is like a magnet. The "used car salesman" approach is
- Be aware of
proper dining etiquette. You should know what to do with your napkin
and utensils. Know how to seat your guests, serve wine, and make conversation.
Never talk with food in your mouth, eat with your hands or pick your
- Know how to
make appropriate introductions. Your demeanor should always be more
formal until invited to do otherwise. This is an art not a science.
Use correct names and titles. Present lower ranking to higher ranking
and say something positive about each person so that the conversation
- Research and
be prepared ahead of time. Understand cultural values and how they
are intrinsically bound to ones behavior. Know something about your
guests' interests and background ahead of time. Determine if there are
any dietary restrictions or food allergies or if your guest drinks alcohol.
Administrative staffs can be very helpful.
- Be current
on domestic and world events, and what impacts your guests business
or culture. Scan the Internet or "World" section of the daily newspaper
so that you can comment on pertinent topics. Your guest will feel flattered
that you took the time and interest.
- Do carry professionally
looking business cards with case and know how and when to exchange them.
Do you put an Asian's card in your pocket? Are yours "dog eared", scribbled
on or too small to read? Do you pass them out like playing cards? --
Not if you want to be successful.
- Know how to
determine someone's surname and ALWAYS ALWAYS double check the spelling
and exact title before putting anything in writing. Which is the first
and last name of an Asian name? Are you sure which name is the last
name of someone who has Latin heritage? The worst faux pas someone can
make is mispronouncing a name.
- Adopt the Disney
philosophy, "The guest is always right!" Know when it is more important
to be accurate or to be right. Sometimes correcting someone may seem
punitive and perceived as a putdown. Do you have meta-messages in your
language style that really say, "You're stupid"? For example: Stated
in a punitive tone of voice, "You should have let ME help you!"
- Try never to
say "No", "I don't know" or "It's not my job" but know your company
or organization's limitations. Asians have a wonderful way of "saving
face", which acknowledges the value in the other person's request or
comments but doesn't necessarily communicate agreement. For example:
"Thank you. That's a very interesting point -- one which we'll definitely
have to consider."
- Smile when
you talk on the phone and when you record your voice mail. Ever
notice how people sound depressed on their voice mail? Try recording
it both ways, playing it back and you'll experience the difference.
People are not attracted to those who reflect a sad, angry, or bored
demeanor. For more tips on personal success visit our website often
or enroll in one of our protocol and etiquette seminars.
Resources on Etiquette & Protocol:
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