Diversity Woman Magazine

FALL 2014

Leadership and Executive Development for women of all races, cultures and backgrounds

Issue link: https://diversitywoman.epubxp.com/i/385684

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DW Life > d i v e r s i t y w o m a n . c o m Fa l l 2 0 1 4 D I V E R S I T Y W O M A N 61 By Sar a J. Welch A few years ago, Tyra Hilliard, a public speaker and professor in Saint Simons Island, Geor- gia, had an experience she's "not proud of " while on a business trip to China. In 2006, Hilliard, then the director of the International Institute of Tourism Studies at George Washington Univer- sity in Washington, DC, was invited to Shanghai by the president of Shanghai University to help establish a partnership between the two institutions. During her stay, the president hosted a dinner in Hilliard's honor showcasing the region's signature dishes—mainly seafood. "I'm a picky eater and allergic to sea- food, so I ended up eating mostly leeks," Hilliard recalls. "I wish I could have just eaten what he put in front of us, but ev- ery time I saw the chicken with its head still on coming around on the lazy Susan, I got queasy." When her host noticed she was avoiding the local delicacies, he in- sisted on ordering a special plate of pep- per steak for her. Te steak was "dread- ful," Hilliard says, and the entire situation "embarrassing." Hilliard is hardly the frst American to experience an awkward moment dur- ing an international business meeting, yet many more potentially uncomfort- able scenarios are likely on the horizon. According to the Global Business Trav- el Association in Alexandria, Virginia, China will overtake the United States to become the largest business travel mar- ket in the world by 2016. Meanwhile, In- dia has climbed from number 24 in 2000 to number 10 today. Ten there is all of the international business taking place in Latin America and the Middle East. As traveling for work becomes an increas- ingly global afair, it behooves women in business to learn a few basic rules of pro- tocol before their next overseas trip. Cultivate Connections Beforehand Finding a local contact before you travel is crucial, protocol experts say. "In Asia and the Middle East especially, you'll be at a disadvantage if you don't have a local counterpart to accompany you to meetings," says Cynthia Lett, director and CEO of Te Lett Group, an inter- national business etiquette consultancy in Silver Spring, Maryland. In Muslim countries, she adds, that person must be male. When in Rome Power Trip Practical tips for women conducting business overseas

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