Doing business on an international basis is commonplace in this day and age. A great many business owners, managers, entrepreneurs and others find themselves involved in overseas meetings. There are some important tips and strategies to bear in mind when it comes to international business networking as well as for overseas meetings. Reaching Out Prior to the Meeting A simple strategy to employ in advance of an international or overseas business meeting is to reach out to participants in advance of the session. In other words, pre-meeting introductions and visits can go very far towards ensuring that the meeting itself is smooth running. This particularly is crucial if the participants have not met previously and really do not know each other at all. This type of pre-meeting connection can be as simple as a phone call or even a Skype or similar type of video conferencing session. It need not be a long session by any means. It can be short and to the point, the point being a first introduction before the main event. Know Proper Business Meeting Etiquette A key tactic to employ when preparing for international networking and an overseas business meeting is learning proper business meeting etiquette. The reality is that business meeting etiquette and expectations vary — and sometimes significantly so — from one country to another. Therefore, in advance of an overseas business meeting, it is crucial to become familiar with customs and etiquette expectations of those anticipated to be in attendance at the meeting. This can become more complicated when there will be individuals from different nations at an overseas business meeting. Such a situation necessitates not only learning the different national business meeting customs and expectations but being able to balance these between those in attendance. Consult an International Meeting Planner Due to the potential complexities of an overseas business meeting, oftentimes a solid solution is to engage the services of an international meeting planner. An international meeting planner can assist not only with essential logistics but with a myriad of other matters as well. For example, this type of meeting planner can assist in making certain the expectations and etiquette associated with meeting participants are in place and observed. A meeting planning of this nature will ensure that all participants are comfortable and accommodated appropriately. Distribute Agendas in Advance of Overseas Meeting As a general rule, people do not like to be surprised. In addition, individuals like to be prepared for a meeting. A crucial step to take for an overseas meeting is making sure all participants have a complete agenda a decent time before the meeting is scheduled to occur. By distributing agendas at an appropriate time in advance of the meeting, participants know what is expected of them. In addition, they can be well prepared for the meeting. In addition, if there are language or related issues, these can be identified and addressed when the agenda is distributed and before the meeting occurs. Set Up an Online Group for Participants Another tactic to consider when planning an overseas meeting (or a related type of international networking) is the establishment of some type of online group. Facebook provides a good example of how this type of online group can be established and utilized by participants in an overseas business meeting. The group can be established in advance of the meeting and kept alive after the meeting occurs. Such an online group, like on at Facebook, permits meeting participants the ability to come together and communicate effectively. Members of the group can ask questions and share ideas through a Facebook or similar type of online group. Economize on Travel Costs Of course, technology exists that permits individuals the ability to have meetings with people from around the globe — from the comfort of their own homes or offices. However, with that noted, there are many instances in which only a face to face meeting between participants will do. The reality is that an overseas meeting in the brick and mortar world can prove costly to organizers and participants alike. Travel costs can be one of the more expensive components of a face to face meeting with global participants. Commercial charter travel options represent one way in which transportation-associated costs can be reigned in and controlled. There are a variety of options available to meeting organizers and participants when it comes to commercial charter travels options. These include a fly in fly out charter that can provide transport to a number if not all overseas meeting participants. Select and Experienced Meeting Facilitator In addition to meeting planners that operate in the international arena, there are also meeting facilitators. While meeting planners have a more global view in regard to organizing an event, a meeting facilitator is charged with the task of ensuring that a specific meeting runs as planned. Oftentimes, the meeting facilitator actually is one of the participants. However, and as noted a moment ago, there are professional facilitators that can work with participants to ensure an effective and smooth running meeting. Include Informal Business Networking International Opportunities International business networking can be fundamental to advancing the interests of a business, organization or a professional. Another strategy to employ to make the most out of an overseas meeting is ensuring that there is time for business related networking. Of course, the meeting itself is by definition an opportunity for networking. However, by setting aside time for informal networking, the participants can develop even more meaningful relationships with one another. This type of informal networking can be undertaken in associated with both brick and mortar world meetings but also those conducted in cyberspace. At real-world meetings, meal time or even a cocktail hour can become an ideal time for networking. Something like a Facebook group provides an outlet for informal business networking associated with an overseas meeting. Collect Ideas and Suggestions from Participants An overseas business meeting typically has an organizer or a team of organizers. Although they are responsible for pulling the event together, they should not operate exclusively onto themselves. Rather, it is important for an overseas meeting organizer to reach out to other participants to collect suggestions and recommendations about a scheduled overseas business meeting. By taking this tactic, everyone involved in a planned meeting has a sense of ownership in the process and the event itself. Once again, something like a Facebook group provides meeting participants with an easy to use portal to convey suggestions, recommendations and information relating to an overseas business meeting. Word should go out early in the planning process seeking ideas and suggestions from participants. In addition, post-meeting critiques should be encouraged and collected by meeting organizers as well. Images: ”Business People Having A Conference About International Relations/Shutterstock.com“ ____________________________________________________________________________ Tweak Your Biz is a thought leader global publication and online business community. 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