Your Flexibility with International Business Norms

When traveling for business internationally, it is not unusual to run into snags and surprises. Some of the most frustrating challenges can come in a business context – yet often, these can become moments where we can learn something new, and shine.

 

Some countries require an unusual amount of paperwork to even consider traveling to the country. Multi-page forms, visa applications, reference letters only accepted via global snail-mail are but a few examples of challenges that business travelers run into when planning visits to countries on nearly every continent.

Other countries have very specific norms with deliveries. Sending a package containing gifts to another business in Brazil is a taxable event for the receiver of the gift! Receiving a package in Germany may be delayed by several days until each item in the package is sorted in customs and a value-amount is declared for each. Some countries’ delivery times are very limited on certain days of the week, which can create unexpected delays around holidays and long weekends.

 

Adhering to business dress codes can also cause a good bit of anxiety for travelers, especially for someone who hasn’t been to said country before. Are white pants on men ok outside of Latin America? Are women expected to wear skirts to business meetings in Japan and the Middle East? For those in the creative industries, when is business-casual “too casual”?  Answers to these questions may vary depending on your industry, meeting purpose, and time of year!

 

The most important way to de-stressify is to do your homework with plenty of time before your trip.  Before you take off, try to schedule some time to research potential snags in the country you’re traveling to. Having a quick call with a friend or expat who has spent significant time there is a very good idea, time providing. Whatever you do, make sure to always breath deeply and keep an open mind; this will help you to observe the humor, beauty, and processes that make other cultures flow!

 

How do you maintain a sense of humor and de-stress with travel surprises?

Tips for Looking Better in Photos

Nowadays, it seems we are constantly being included in photos. At the dinner table, outside restaurants, between sessions at a conference, and now, especially, on our once-sacred “lounge days” during vacation. We document the people we’re with while we’re at the places we love!

 

The catch to all this documentation is that few of us can afford to bring a professional lighting crew and “glam squad” around at all times to accentuate our best assets! You don’t have to have the resources of an A-lister, however, to be prepared and look your best in nearly every photo taken.

 

Here are a few tips we’ve shared with clients this year:

 

  1. If you anticipate that you’ll be photographed in advance of an outing, apply your makeup according to the lighting you expect
  2. Try to stand with the sun/light source behind the camera, so that you are front lit. It’s much easier to filter a photo later that’s been front lit than the opposite; check out Afterlight as a great app to correct great backlit shots (available for IOS, Android and Windows phones)h
  3. If you’ll be outside, try to avoid sparkle in foundations and eye makeup. Glitter often accentuates your fine lines and will age you
  4. Avoid wearing too much blush, and when you do, blend it in well
  5. Use a light-reflecting concealer to combat dark circles under the eyes
  6. Use an anti-shine crème to keep your skin matte
  7. It’s ok to cheat the camera. Stand sideways, cross your legs to slim the body, and always try to twist your shoulders to face the photographer
  8. Do not chew gum, and always mind your posture
  9. If you’ll be with friends, politely ask to be photographed from your “better side,” if it feels appropriate
  10. Do not ask waiters or strangers to take additional rounds after the first shot(s). They have not been hired to help you document your evening; be ok with a shot or two, and then let it be.

And, in case you need to get ready for photos in a pinch, here are a few tricks for the ladies:

 

  1. Create subtle, smoky eyes with eye shadow and your fingertips
  2. Smooth out flyaways with your hands
  3. Plump up your eyelash volume with a curler or volumizing mascara
  4. Bonus: always check your teeth for spinach and other delights!

How do you get ready for photos? Share with us ……

 

 

Dressing Well for a Job Interview

There are few occasions more important than impressing a prospective employer. Whether you’re making a career change or simply interviewing for a transfer internally, you want to present yourself in the most flattering, professional light. Taking time to get this right early in your interview preparations will allow you to spend mental energy on the important stuff – like what you’re going to say and what you’re going to ask, instead of fretting about what to wear.

 

Here are a few tips for dressing for a job interview:

  • Always follow the company dress code. Find out whether it’s formal or casual by observing employees arriving for work.
  • Plan to dress slightly better than an employee would there. At least, your clothes and shoes should be neat & clean and don’t forget to style your hair too.
  • If you have body art/tattoos, cover them up until you know whether they are acceptable in that workplace.
  • For women: makeup should be subtle and nails with reasonable length.
  • Remember, dress as you belong to that company.

From there, ask yourself a few questions before laying out your outfit:

Should I wear a suit? In many industries, it’s a good idea to wear a suit for a job interview. Especially for a conservative business. For example, if you’re applying for a job in an investment firm, go with a navy blue or dark gray suit.

What if the company I’m applying to is dressing more casual? It’s a good idea to match your interview attire to the prospective job. If you are applying for a job working on a warehouse floor, you will look out of place wearing a formal suit. Keeping that in mind, dress a bit better than you would for a regular workday there, and always ensure that clothing is cleaned and pressed as appropriate.

With any job interviews, if you’re unsure of what the dress code is – a best practice is to dress up the extra notch. It’s better to look polished than to look too casual. If you’re still unsure, your prospective employers’ HR department should be able to help you. Ask them what their staff wear in the office each day; such preparation, to most companies, will make you stand out for being prepared!