Through the evolution of technology the world has become a very small place. The technological advances in the last decades casual air travel, fax machines, affordable international telephone calls, video conferencing, and the Internet made international business markets a commonplace. According to the International Trade Center, more than 5,300 products are being traded in the international marketplace between hundreds of countries. While electronic communication may facilitate the managing of accounts, initial business relationships and many deals are still conducted through face-to-face communication.
In an age of multinational corporations and organizations, the average business person traveling abroad needs a basic understanding of the culture they will be visiting. Despite surface appearances, cultural attitudes and traditions can vary widely. What may be an innocent gesture in one culture might cause great offense in another. By the same token, taking the time to understand the cultural traditions of your hosts can go long way toward showing respect and good will.
There are some cultural rules that might be very different from yours. In many countries you might find yourself frustrated with a business associate who seems wishy-washy about a deal. In this case, it would help to know that its rude to refuse a deal directly in his country, and he is attempting to be polite in saying no. Even in countries with similar cultures, it should never be assumed that they are the same. For example, the business culture in New Zealand is a bit more conservative than the one in Australia. A businessperson that has taken the time to become aware of international business etiquette and cultural differences will have fewer frustrations and a greater degree of success.