Entertaining foreign business guests for the first time? These tips are for you!
Entertain foreign business guests might sound like a simple task. You take them to a nice restaurant, show them around town, and that’s that. But in truth, there are more skills involved than just those.
Receiving a group of foreigners can be difficult, and if you add business to the mix, it can get even more complicated. Doing this for the first time, it’s a bit daunting and feels like a lot of responsibility. We know how you feel.
But there’s no need to fret. We’ve put together a small list of tips and tricks that’ll you make more comfortable in your skills to entertain foreign business guests. So, keep reading!
Dazzle them with a delicious meal in a traditional restaurant
Treating your foreign business guests to a nice meal might be an old trick, but there’s a reason it’s still widely used. It’s because it works!
A business meal, whether dinner or lunch, allows you to present some ideas and discuss business-related topics in a relaxed and comfortable environment.
No matter the differences between all the cultures in the world, we all have to eat. So, taking the gastronomy route while introducing a foreign to a new culture is a tasty idea.
However, there are some important points that you must never forget. Depending on the guests’ culture, their eating habits might hugely differ from yours.
For instance, in some countries, people dine at 18h00 while in others they’re used to eat at 20h00. Do a little research on your guests’ eating habits and try to accommodate them, but don’t forget that you’re trying to introduce someone to a new culture.
In this sense, don’t overcompensate in trying to make the guests feeling comfortable and then end up taking them to your country’s interpretation of their gastronomy.
Be polite, kind and friendly
It goes without saying, but a little kindness and politeness can win the world.
Everyone deserves to be treated with respect, and caring about your guests’ welfare will for sure leave them happy and comfortable.
Little acts of kindness make a huge difference. Asking how the flight was and offering help getting to the hotel is a small gesture that shows care on your part.
Also, don’t forget that some cultures might have different social protocols from yours. For instance, in some countries, a handshake won’t be an acceptable greeting. So, do some internet research about your guests’ culture and respect their social norms without overdoing it.
The core idea is to respect their boundaries without forgetting to be yourself.
Introduce them to your city’s top attractions
Even if your guests’ main reason to visit is company-related, it doesn’t mean than they’ll focus only on work. If they have the time, they’ll also want to do a bit of sightseeing.
In this regard, you can organize a quick tour to show them the highlights of the city. If you want to take a less “touristy” direction, you can always create a tour that relates to your enterprise.
For example, let’s say you work in an architecture company and you’ve been tasked with entertaining foreign guests. Instead of arranging a standard tour through your city’s top attractions, you can plan a small trip to show them the most inspiring architecture around town. If possible, you can even mix some of your company’s work.
No matter what you decide, always remember to plan and organize ahead especially if you’re receiving a large group.
Take them out for a drink
After a long day of meetings and business plans, there’s no better way to relax than with a glass of wine in good company.
If there’s time, your favourite bar in town might turn out to be a comfortable place to get known your guests on a more personal level. Asking them questions outside the corporate scope, for example about their home country, can turn out to be a way to break the ice.
However, don’t get carried away. You still want to show your more professional side, and you won’t be able to do that if you let things get out of control.
Extra tip: If you’re entertaining your business guests during the warmer months, check out the best rooftop bars around you. Nobody can stay tense after some great snacks and a sunset.
Let them know where the best shopping districts are
Depending on your business guests’ profile a good activity to entertain them could be a shopping trip.
We’re not talking about taking them to the shopping centre where all the international and global brands are located, they already have that at home. Instead, taking them to the small hidden stores where they’ll find good quality local products.
Traditional gastronomy, local clothing brands and souvenir stores are different places to take your business guests and delight them.
Are you feeling more secure in your ability to entertain foreign business guests? We hope so! Don’t forget that they’re people who want to get to know you and your company.
At the end of the day, you need to find a balance between respecting your guests’ culture, showing them your own and maintaining a professional image.