Preparing Employees for Overseas Meetings

When you are operating business overseas you will need to make efforts to ensure that your representative employees are properly prepared to do so. There are numerous issues involved in international trade meetings ranging from the physical to the cultural, so it is important that your staff have the knowledge and skills to present your business in the best light. This article considers how you can prepare employees for overseas meetings and ensure that you are getting the best out of them whilst they are representing you.

What Are the Key Issues?

When your employees are engaging in overseas trade meetings there will be some very significant problems and obstacles in the way of uninterrupted success. Recognising these key issues is important so that you can properly prepare your staff. Here we consider what the key issues of international trade meetings really are.

Time and Travel

Sending an employee overseas means that you are taking up their time and making them travel significant differences. Your staff will thus need to be flexible enough to undertake travel and on a practical level there will need to be recognition of the time taken to recover from jet lag too.

Cultural Differences

Travelling geographically also means that you will be travelling culturally. An understanding of unique international business culture is thus a vitally important element of preparing your employees. Failure to do so may leave your staff unprepared and likely to inadvertently offend potential customers.

Connectivity

Travelling overseas makes connectivity into a significant issue. To conduct trade your employee will need to be connected to your business and able to access all that they need to make sales and meet customer demands. A loss of connectivity will reflect very poorly on your business.

Preparing Your Employees

Preparing your employees for overseas meetings means that you will need to look at every aspect from their knowledge to their equipment and their contractual arrangements. Herein we consider how you can prepare your staff to overcome the challenges identified above:

Contractual Arrangements

The key point of preparing your staff for international trade meetings on a legal and obligatory basis is to ensure that agreements to do so are built into the contracts between company and employee. Having staff that are ready to fly around the world on your behalf is essential in international trade and this needs to be legally grounded. Aside from this, only logistical issues stand in the way of ensuring that staff can overcome jet lag and be prepared for meetings.

Cultural Training

The biggest difficult in managing the trade meetings between your employees and the employees or directors of other companies is that of culture. Business culture is a hugely important thing to train your staff in because there is no recourse for making mistakes in your company’s international business etiquette. A mistake in cultural business practice can be enough to cost you significant contracts and needs to be avoided at all costs. For this reason training your staff in appropriate international business behaviour is essential.

International Connectivity

In order to get the best out of your staff overseas you will need to give them the tools to utilise the business systems whilst abroad. This means enabling access from mobile devices and providing them with the support and information that they need. Cloud computing and digital developments have made this far easier, but the important thing is to ensure that your staff have the information and tools to provide your customers with all they could need and a great deal more too.

Planning and Preparation

They keys to successful international business operations are planning and preparation. With appropriate training, equipment and knowledge your employees will be able to make the right decisions and provide the right input to secure big business deals. Without an understanding of cultural differences and trade processes, however, you will be left with a team of employees that are more likely to offend and lose your business significant contracts than they are to secure sales. Preparing employees for overseas meetings is not something to be taken lightly. For more information please visit the Institute of Diplomacy and Business (IoDB).