A growing number of companies are prioritizing the Middle East in their expansion plans. But you can’t settle in this new region without a deep understanding of its cultural conventions. From how to deal with potential partners, to making your copy more persuasive. In this free resource, we compiled essential communication tips to help you thrive in the Middle East.
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The Middle East and North Africa are an extremely promising region to expand your business to. In fact, according to the World Bank, MENA has been growing at a steady rate of 1.4% to 2% in the past few years. But, even if you’ve found a clear market gap you could take advantage of, you can’t just enter the MENA market tomorrow.
Any expansion plan begins with research. And understanding the culture of your target region should be at the top of your priority list. It will make negotiations run smoothly, and give you some initial orientation for when you need to localize your brand. Your partners and customers want to feel taken care of and understood. So, aside from being a sign of respect, cross-cultural sensitivity is also a very effective business practice.
It’s no news that Middle Eastern languages are complicated for Westerners to learn. And that’s not just due to how different their writing systems may be to that of English or Spanish. But also to numerous significant cultural differences. The region’s conventions, customs, and etiquette may vary a lot from what you’re used to.
Transparency is extremely important when doing business in the Middle East. However, you should keep in mind that cultural norms differ greatly from your everyday experiences. So, make sure transparency and honesty don’t turn into rudeness. Middle Eastern business people are often characterized as strict when it comes to culture. A gesture of insensitivity won’t be shrugged off, it could make or break your business relationship.
Affinity, trust, and respect for the region are decisive. Being honest and attentive to your business partners’ customs, dressing formally, and knowing which greetings and mannerisms are appropriate for each situation will make a lasting positive impression.
Non-verbal language is essential in this region. The effusiveness of your business partners’ movements will show you if they are happy with your proposal. Dignity, honor, and reputation also play a crucial role. Middle Eastern cultures have an idea of “saving face” that’s somehow similar to that of Chinese and Japanese cultures. Formality and respectability should be at the forefront when doing business in the Middle East. This not only the case in face-to-face interactions, but also on the telephone and in writing.
In face-to-face meetings, business people in the region will prefer to forge a close, personal relationship with their partners. Therefore, it’s critical to send over a representative who can handle negotiations effectively while establishing strong, friendly interpersonal connections with your counterparts. To ensure good intentions don’t get lost in translation, most companies choose to work with specialized business interpreters. This may also be a great option for your business.
In this ebook, we’ll explore some key cultural factors you should have in mind when doing business in the Middle East. Download it for free, and learn everything you need to know to navigate negotiations and customer relationships in this region.