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Everything You Need To Impress International Business Clients

One of the difficult things about success is that it can make your life harder. This idea is exemplified by a theory that is now known as the Peter Principle. Formulated by Dr. Laurence J Peter in his 1968 book, it states that in hierarchical organizations like a corporation, each employee will eventually rise to a position for which they are ill-suited. What that means is that if you start at an entry-level position, you will likely find that you can easily complete the tasks assigned to you and that the job is within your capabilities. You will then be promoted to a position which entails more responsibility and more difficult tasks. It may be that you excel in this post too, so you will impress your superiors and once again be promoted.
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However, a point will be reached where you are promoted to a position within the hierarchy that you are not able to do. You will then have found that you’ve reached the limit of your competence. Many corporations do not demote people (although it does happen) but the fact remains that many employees find that they cannot do their job as effectively as they did the previous ones. The principle states that the reason the hierarchy continues to function is that the people who have not yet reached the level of their incompetence are still doing a good job. If you run your own business, for instance, there will not be the same hierarchical structure, so if you find that you are not able to do something as well as you’d hope, your entire business will suffer. If you are particularly successful, an arena in which you may need to prosper is international business.

The first time that you have a meeting with business people from another part of the world is exciting and a recognition of your ability. But you also need to make sure you get it exactly right. Here are a few things that you’ll need to organize to make a good impression:

Asking a prospective business partner to take a commercial flight (whether it is first class or not) is like taking a bus to pick up your date. No one enjoys long flights and even longer queues at customs. That is why you should look into jet charter companies. It may sound expensive, but if it is the difference between securing a deal or not, it can suddenly seem rather cheap. Organizing for your guests to stay at a hotel is an obvious point but the place that you choose can say a lot about how you see your future relationship. The key is to make arrangements at the place that your guest would if they were doing it themselves and knew the city well enough.

Some people prefer to be in the thick of things while others may want a more quiet, elegant spot where they can relax at the end of the day. Do your research.

Finally, life is not all about work. If you keep your guests happy by showing them a good time, they are more likely to want to return and do business with you again.


Essentials: 10 key tips to doing business in …… France

1. Always respect the individuality of the French. Never try to put them into categories, or make generalisations about them.
2. Never try to impose your own cultural values on the French as you will only create resistance.
3. Remember that this is a polite, formal society. Greetings, small talk and etiquette are essential.
4. Relationships are critical to getting things done. Network and use contacts where you can to navigate through bureaucratic levels.
5. Do not be afraid to debate a point in what may seem like a heated, intense discussion. Provided you can back it up, you will be respected for your intellectual grasp.
6. Learn to conduct meetings the French way, with plenty of debate and a chance for everybody to have their say. The French can appear direct because they are not afraid of asking probing questions. Don't be frustrated by what can seem to be an inconclusive result.
7. Avoid making exaggerated claims about your company or your products. They will not be appreciated.
8. Recognise that French business is hierarchical. Information may not flow between levels and decisions will tend to be made at the top.
9. Be aware that the French tend to be most receptive to low-key, but logical presentations that fully explain the position(s) taken.
10. Start learning French as it demonstrates an interest in developing a long-term relationship.

Executive Traveller 2003