On Tuesday 26th November we hosted the fifth session of the “Leadership in Focus Forum” at the Spanish Chamber and this time organised in collaboration with International House London, member of the Chamber. David Solomons, from IH London, was in charge of delivering the topic for the day: Doing business with the British.
Born in England, David’s background is in behavioral psychology as well as training and business. Having lived, worked and run organizations in the U.S., The Middle East, Spain, France and the U.K., he has had multiple occasions to experience first-hand how overlooking cultural differences can mean the make or break of a business deal.
As the topic was a broad one, the session focused on understanding significant aspects of British culture in order to improve the attendees’ negotiation skills when doing business or establishing professional links with British companies and their representatives.
To start off, Mr. Solomons brought attention to one of the key points non-British must bear in mind, and that was that British are usually non-confrontational. They do not like dealing with critism, for instance, and for this reason, they prefer moaning because it is a way to express their disagreement while avoiding violent situations.
Mr. Solomon divided the session in two parts. During the first; he pointed out the attitudes and values from British people that are quite different from the Spaniards such as family organization, education, religious beliefs, etc. A good example of these differences between the Anglo-Saxon and Latin cultures is reflected in job choices. While in Spain a significant amount of local people work in the service industry, in the United Kingdom this sector is usually avoided because it is not perceived as a high-level work option so many people feel ashamed of working in jobs related to the service industry.
The second part of the session focused on the way British people express themselves, and their behaviour. Among the different examples Mr. Solomons provided in order to understand cultural nuances and how they can impact professional relations, we would like to mention the following:
-British people are not particularly exuberant, friendly or outgoing in terms of body language.
-They like punctuality.
-They are not accustomed to doing business over a lunch or a dinner and as a general rule prefer doing business in the office.
-They have a particular and eccentric sense of humour that is frequently used, even in business-related conversations or environments.
To end the session, he recommended attendees paying attention to advertising because it is a wonderful reflection of what is going on in a society in terms of cultural perception and value.
After this gripping session, all guests could enjoy an interactive networking breakfast while sharing thoughts and discussing further all the ideas covered in the talk.
We would like to thank everyone who took part in this activity and especially International House for delivering such an engaging talk.
Do not miss the next session of the Leadership in Focus Forum which will be delivered by Hill Networks in 2014. Keep an eye on our events section if you don’t want to miss it!