When you hear about overseas business trips, do you think of them as “international business”, “cool English,” or a front-line business person who is active in extraordinary situations that is far from daily work? What kind of attitude and preparations should be made for such a special overseas business trip to achieve the expected results? It is true that overseas business trips are “special”, but the basics of business are exactly the same in Japan and overseas. Here, I would like to give you some tips for making such an overseas business trip successful.
What is an overseas business trip in the first place?
There are various purposes even if it is summarized as an overseas business trip. Attendance at seminars/conferences, site visits, relationships with cooperating companies, so-called market research, business negotiations, etc. There must be missions for each purpose that cannot be achieved without a business trip. For example, if you are attending a seminar, attendance itself is your mission, and you may have to give a lecture at the seminar. In the case of market research, I go out to find out what I can’t understand without a business trip about the marketability of the products I’m in charge of.
Now, the question here is, are overseas business trips special? Since the above “mission” is “overseas”, do you go on a business trip? There are seminars in Japan as well. For example, we will visit the site of the Kobe branch from the Tokyo head office. I go to Karuizawa with cooperating companies. You may have a business talk in Akihabara from 10 am tomorrow, right?
Even if you are on an overseas business trip, the mission assigned to a business person is exactly the same as a “domestic business trip”, and the reason why it is special is that you can cross the sea, fly, and live in a land where you cannot live in Japanese alone. I think that you have to carry it out. In other words, from the sending company side, it is “special because the travel expenses are high”, and from the general Japanese, it is “special to work using English”. The mission on a business trip is not special.
Let’s reconfirm the purpose of the business trip
Even if you go on a “special” overseas business trip, your mission is to accomplish your job. The missions assigned to business people are the same whether they are overseas or domestic. Certainly, “working in English” is “special” in terms of everyday life in Japan, but not all English. Always be aware of your mission, the purpose of your business trip.
If you lose sight of your purpose, you may make the following mistakes, and as a result, you may not be able to complete your mission.
The purpose is to give a presentation
I am absorbed in giving a presentation, and the reaction of the customer, the question and answer session with the customer, the degree of satisfaction of the customer, etc. are secondary. Presentations are the same both in Japan and overseas, and are just one of the means of sales.
Result report neglected
What are the challenges? It is the mission of the business person to immediately report this to the company. However, when it comes to overseas business trips, the appearance of the report itself tends to be important. Instead of looking, report the results by phone or email immediately and move on to the next step.
Be swayed by foreign cultures and customs
Phrases such as “because the culture is different” or “you have to understand the culture first” from people who travel frequently. Of course, it is important, but of course Japanese culture and foreign cultures abroad are different. Meetings from 10 am do not start at 10:15, which is a daily occurrence in some countries. However, it is not a decisive factor that influences the business trip mission of business negotiations and contract consultations.
What to do specifically
Business trips, whether overseas or domestic, are an integral part of our business to extend our business beyond the boundaries of existing markets and customers. Here are some tips for making your business successful and achieving your goals on an overseas business trip.
- Clarify the purpose
This is quite natural for business meetings, meetings, and business negotiations. Presenting in English is certainly different from presenting in Japanese and may be under pressure. However, in order to achieve the purpose, if you can tell what you want to convey, you will pass, that is, you can list only what you want to convey in words. (Actually, there is a major manufacturer who made such a presentation. It was a reaction from the foreign side that I understood only what I wanted to convey.)
- Submission of reports / reports
If the overseas business trip is a major factor in making a management decision, an immediate report is required. If you report only the results, regardless of the format of the report, you will not have to spend several hours after the on-site meeting to create the report / report. Prolonging the meeting time as much as possible, enjoying conversations with customers, having lunch / supper, and having a “full” after the meeting will lead to improved business performance.
- Understand cultural differences
The culture and the manner in which business negotiations are held in that country are different. Let’s understand the manners properly and approach the business negotiations. Since it is a foreign country, it is natural that the culture and customs are different. Let’s understand that and achieve the purpose.
- Make full use of the agenda in one A4 sheet
What I have been using a lot lately is this method of “combining the purpose and purpose of the meeting into one A4 agenda.” This summary will be distributed at the meeting and used for proceedings according to the agenda. The following points are effective.
- Meetings are not scattered. The story goes according to the purpose
- The content of the meeting can be shared within the company in advance
- It can be edited as minutes and can be used as it is for reports.
- The content of the meeting can be shared with members who could not attend due to circumstances on the customer side.
For those who are not good at speaking in English, this one will complement the English conversation that you are not good at.
This “summary sheet” may be included in the presentation, but if possible, it is better to use a separate sheet of paper. It can be buried as part of dozens of presentations.
Of course, this “summary one” is not useful because it is an overseas business trip. It should be useful for domestic business trips and for meetings in Akihabara from 3 o’clock tomorrow.
Once again, for a Japanese business person, “overseas business trip” means to prepare properly while keeping in mind not to lose sight of the purpose of the business trip, to properly produce results and results, and to report it to the company. Therefore, “Summary 1 sheet” is useful especially from the viewpoint of clarifying the purpose. You might think that it is paper, but there is also a point that it is because it is “paper”. Now that digitalization has progressed, please try it in the global world.