Cultural faux pas in business and diplomacy
Cultural faux pas (social blunders involving people of different cultural backgrounds) happen with consuls and diplomats, just like in any cross-cultural situations. Most of the time they are inadvertent, such as when we don’t know that a particular form of address or gesture is offensive to the foreign consuls among us.
This then raises the question about American businesses seeking to expand into a country represented by one of the local consuls in Anytown, USA: will it help corporate officials to understand the background of the foreign consuls before making contact with them? You betcha, it will!
When a business executive approaches the official representative of another country, calling him “council” or – maybe worse – assumes a female consul is a “consulate” (sounding like consulette), the foundation for a fruitful dialogue between two business interests is already weak. Knowing titles and terms only makes good business sense!