Doing Business with Different Cultures

Business professionals are increasingly being challenged by the wide variety of people they are encountering from the over 200 cultures in Canada.

Each of these cultures has their preferred way of doing business or, in the case of employees, being managed.

Being successful managing or doing business with such an array people from different cultures requires specific training in one or more of the following areas:


Most cultures of the world are “slow trust” cultures. People from these cultures must have a good relationship with a business professional before they will do business with them.

It is essential to be “culturally appropriate” with people from “slow trust” cultures to be as successful as possible in doing business with them or managing them.

For example, making an important favourable first impression by greeting them in a “culturally appropriate” fashion, you need to know not to automatically put out your hand to shake hands. That can be seen as rude and/or aggressive. Bowing is the only appropriate way to greet someone in many cultures of the world. However, bowing is not appropriate in other cultures.

How should you greet someone from a different culture than your culture? Smile and keep your hands by your side until they greet you in “their way”. Then mirror their way of greeting you.

Cross-cultural communications is another area of challenges. While Canadians want people to speak to them clearly and concisely, that communications approach can be seen as very “culturally inappropriate” by people from most other cultures of the world.


Posted in Bill Dennis | Cultural Selling

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The Oakville, Milton and District Real Estate Board highly recommends Bill Dennis’ seminar “Negotiating & Selling to Different Cultures & Generations” because of the very enthusiastic and positive feedback from our members.
Cyndi Amodeo, Manager of Professional Development and EventsThe Oakville, Miton and District Real Estate Board