If you’re travelling to Europe for an important business meeting or you’re heading there to be interviewed for your dream job, you’re going to want the entire experience to run smoothly. To start with, you’re going to need to dress smartly as most European countries will expect this, and you’ll also need to know the culture of the place you’re visiting so you don’t commit any faux pas!
Whether you’re travelling from London to Paris with GoEuro or you’re jetting halfway across the world, you’ll need to make all of the necessary travel arrangements in advance to ensure this is a successful business trip.
Plan to Arrive Early
It doesn’t matter how far you’re travelling, it’s a good idea to arrive at your destination a day early so you can familiarize yourself with your surroundings and you can get a good night’s sleep before the meeting. Jet lag can be incredibly debilitating so be prepared to battle this if you are flying long haul prior to your meeting.
Depending on what time you arrive, you may have time to do a little exploring, or you may just need to eat and go straight to bed. Try to adjust your body clock as best you can, making sure you set an alarm in plenty of time for the next morning!
Know the Dress Code
There’d be nothing worse than casually walking into your business meeting in smart-casual dress to realize that the meeting room is full of people who are suited and booted. Ensure you’ve got the correct attire for the country you are travelling to – it’s better to be overdressed than under! In most countries, a fitted suit, shirt and tie will be the safest option.
Familiarize Yourself with Local Business Hours
So you’re aware of what time things are going to happen during your business trip, it’s a good idea to get to know the business hours that the locals work. For example, a lot of European countries won’t start working until 9am but will often work until 6pm or later. In Spain, many lunch breaks will be taken at 2pm and can last for a couple of hours (siesta time!) while lunch is normally taken at 1pm in Italy.
Greeting People Correctly
You will probably find that most greetings in Europe involve a good, strong handshake and that’ll you need to individually greet each of the team members you are meeting. Don’t be overly surprised if there’s some cheek-kissing in certain countries too, particularly if you are meeting partners from the same firm as you. Should anyone arrive slightly later than everyone else, be sure to stand up to shake their hand.
If you are unsure of how you should be greeting others, take a step back and watch as your colleagues greet them so you’ll know what to do once they get to you! If you can, you could always research business etiquette in other countries before you set off there.
Melissa McKenzie is a frequent traveler due to her job. Often needing to go into a meeting after she’s just stepped off the plane she has learnt how to make it work.