There are always bound to be some nerves when you decide to enter into a business relationship with someone you don’t know, and those anxieties only multiply when you introduce a language barrier. However, you should remember that this is a fantastic opportunity not just for your company, but for you to learn about a culture, a language and a whole different way of doing business.
Every nation has its own way of doing things, and there are few countries that come with as many preconceptions as Italy. We all know the stereotypes, just as they know ours, but it’s important to put those preconceived notions out of your head and do the research to avoid any embarrassing blunders. Here are a few things that you need to remember before you show up to your first meeting.
First Impressions Are Going To Be Important
This is certainly true of a lot of business cultures, but if you have set up a meeting with an Italian business or group, it’s important to remember that your first impression is going to count for a lot.
While we are still probably a few months away from Coronavirus restrictions allowing us to travel for a business meeting (let alone a holiday), remember that a good firm handshake is expected, as are formal modes of address (title and surname, until you’re invited to do otherwise) and appropriate business attire. Things may become a lot more relaxed very quickly, but that first meeting is crucial.
The Language Barrier May Be Tougher Than You Think
Famously, the Italian language is rich in physical as well as verbal modes of expression, and you will be seeing a lot of gesticulation. And while you may have brushed up on your Italian enough to feel confident holding a conversation, you should keep in mind that it is very common for people to talk over each other, making it tricky for a newcomer to understand every word. There are also region-specific dialects, each with its own nuances, and that’s why it’s so important to make use of a good Italian translation service, particularly in these early stages. London Translations has a network of native speaking translators to help you navigate these tricky waters.
You May Have To Be Patient
One of the biggest stereotypes of Italian business is that timetables are guidelines, rather than something to be adhered to strictly. While you should obviously never assume that it will be fine to show up to a meeting late, you may need to prepare yourself for a longer wait than you may be used to.
If you want to make a good impression, then you should remember that formality and punctuality are important, but to give yourself a cushion in your own schedule for delays in communication. While you should never keep anybody waiting, remember that agendas may be flexible. The last twelve months have been tough on Italy but it’s a hugely attractive market for investors, and with such an emphasis placed on building relationships, it’s well worth exploring for a mutually beneficial future.
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