Tips for Business Travel in Russia
There is so much to consider when planning a business trip to Russia. With the unfurling and slow disintegration of old economy-stifling governments, trade has opened up on a previously unprecedented scale. The use of mobile telephones, the Internet and other technological advances have made it easier than ever to conduct business with foreign countries. Russia is no exception and as a result the emergence of business travel in Russia has become quite a lucrative industry. Perhaps the best part about traveling for business is the opportunities it opens up for a bit of sight-seeing. Many travel companies offer this as an option when putting together business packages for foreign business people.
You can be sure that there will be much to do when you arrive in this diverse country. You will likely spend much of your time ensuring that your arrangements are still in tact and that your venues are still open and are appropriate. From this viewpoint it is helpful to have some help from locals. Organizing for your Russian business counterparts to co-arrange meeting places and times will mean that venues will likely be more appropriate and that the timing will not be too awkward. However, you will likely quickly find that all your business plans have gone by successfully. This is the time to make full use of your time in Russia and take in some sight-seeing before boarding the plane for home.
When preparing a trip to meet with Russian businessmen and women, it is always good practice to make your appointment way in advance. Also remember that the Russians with whom you are meeting may or may not be punctual, so make sure you are on time and have something to do if you have to wait. For this reason it is also a good idea to make your appointments quite far apart so that if one meeting starts late, you will still be able to be on time for the following one.
After a firm and brief handshake and verbal greeting, you may take your seat and begin to familiarize yourself with your Russian business acquaintances. Greet by surname and title, but not by first name unless you are intimate friends with that individual. Try to avoid personal questions and do not lavish compliments on any one item or subject. Pictures of your children are usually welcome too. If, at any time, you find yourself getting lost in the conversation, most Russians will gladly and politely fill you in on request.
For the most part, women struggle to conduct effective business deals in this country and it is better to allow male business counterparts to conduct such meetings.
When choosing a meeting place and time, it is good to remember that breakfast meetings are not common practice in the country, while dinner-time meetings are quite widely employed. If your business plans lend better to such a meeting instead of an office meeting, choose your venue wisely. Remember that refusing a drink is frowned upon, but that there are ways around imbibing more than you feel comfortable with. Also, it is not customary to eat before a toast has been made. Sit next to your business counterpart and reserve central seats for those who hold the most importance in the business.