I'm so excited for my business trip to China next week!! I've read up on all the tourist hot spots I want to see!
That's great! But, have you read up on their culture so you're prepared for your meetings?
Oh, Brenda, it'll be fine, they all either speak English or have interpreters. What could go wrong?
I'm not talking about language. I'm talking about culture. There are lots of cultural factors to consider, even when doing business with other Americans!
Really? Give me an example because I've never noticed.
For example, you know how my grandma is Native American, right? Well, each Native American tribe is its own sovereign government and they take that very seriously.
When cities or federal entities work with the tribes, they're working sovereign to sovereign and respect must be given to the others' culture. There was this one time a city wanted to dedicate "Indigenous People's Day" and wanted a representative of the historical tribe to make a speech.
Well, that doesn't seem so bad!
It's not! It was a great gesture, however, when no representative of that tribe could make it to the ceremony, the city had a Native American family who lived there accept the dedication. Problem was, that family was NOT from the tribe to whom the land had once belonged. This seriously offended the tribe because tribal territories are important to the identity and culture of the tribe who lived there. Another tribe accepting a dedication on another tribe's territory was a serious "no no" culturally and it looked like the city thought that "any Native will do" even if they weren't in the area historically. It was a publicity nightmare.
That's awful! I would hate to offend potential clients! I've only got a week to learn how not to offend an entire country?!
Don't worry, I've got a friend who grew up in China. She'll be more than happy to give you a crash course and set you up for success. Let's go talk to her!