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Different Cultures

In the Global Economy, it is more important than ever to know how they do things in other countries. Perhaps the key to a successful business trip is a genuine respect for other cultures. For the business traveller, the famous saying is certainly true: “Think globally, act locally”. Timing is everything in business. Western businesspeople, in particular, are obsessed with it – after all, “time is money”. But even in Europe, attitudes to timekeeping can still be regarded as local customs. In Germany or Switzerland, you should never arrive fifteen minutes late for a meeting, while in France, that is quite acceptable. If you agree to meet your Italian colleague at 12 o’clock and they arrive half an hour late, they probably won’t give you an excuse but will almost certainly have a great idea. And, as for the British, one cynical businessman has observed that they pretend to be German but, in fact, they would like to be Italian!

Cultures also view gifts very differently. In Anglo-Saxon countries, for example, businesspeople do not expect to receive presents from visitors, and anything more expensive than a small corporate gift like a pen could cause embarrassment. But in Asia, particularly in Japan and the Middle East, gifts have a much greater importance in establishing a personal and business relationship. Even there, gifts do not have to be very expensive, although they should be of a high quality.

But cultural stereotypes are rarely helpful when dealing with individuals. Nor all Americans are pushy and loud; not all English people are reserved and formal. The same is true of any culture. There are Italians who do not gesture and Japanese who never apologize. So, when you travel overseas, try to leave behind all ideas based on jokes and movies. Keep an open mind and you will meet individuals far more than cultural stereotypes.

II. Определите , являются ли утверждения:

А) истинными

B) ложными

C) в тексте нет информации

1. Cultures view gifts very differently.

2. You should always take an expensive gift when you visit an American company.

3. It’s embarrassing for Russian people to receive gifts.

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