Expatriates spending extended periods of time in foreign countries are often trained in dinner table etiquette, such as what to eat and drink, and what to talk about during a meal. They are also schooled in proper dress code and in proper protocol for interacting with hosts. The International Business Center Web Site (http://www.international-business-center.com) offers information on business etiquette for a variety of countries. Look for information on protocol for an international assignment in South Africa. Write down a list of things you should keep in mind as you go abroad to South Africa that may be different from what you are used to. Traditional South African business tended towards the accumulation of power and decision-making in the hands of a few senior managers (usually white), with middle managers waiting in line to move up the corporate ladder over time. One needs to be aware of all the culture changes that one would experience upon working in South Africa. There are many things in terms of meetings styles, work culture, gender differences and dress code that one should be familiar with before starting an assignment in South Africa. Meeting styles will differ depending upon who you are dealing with whether it be a traditional, white-dominated business or a start-up black African company. Some tips that might be helpful would be that South Africans expect you to have a good idea of the current situation on the ground in South Africa. Show that you have done your research and that you have adapted your policies or ideas to meet the local conditions. This will really give you insight on the country you’re dealing with and prove to them that you understand where they are coming from. Also take time in the meeting to try to develop a good relationship with the people you are doing business with. This is important within all sections of South African society as relationships have always formed the basis of good business — regardless of...
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