The power of first impressions across cultures

You lost me at “hello”

From the get-go our relationship was doomed to failure, as you knew nothing about my culture, could not speak a single word of my language and were only interested in a short-term, money making exercise.


You lost me because you tried to shake my hand when my religion doesn’t permit me to do so.  You lost me when you just took my business card and put it into your back pocket without reading it.  You lost me at our first meeting, when you proceeded to call me by my Christian name, as though we were old friends.

You lost me when you failed to join my team at lunch, when you didn’t repay the hospitality I showed to you when you visited my country and when you opened my gift in front of other people.  You lost me when you referred to my wife as the hostess and again when you sat with the soles of your feet facing me.

I had such high hopes of expanding my business to another country, but you lost me by failing to understand how much these small things matter.  Just because it doesn’t matter to you, doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter.

Developing international business etiquette will enable you to appreciate the cultural dynamics of your customers, colleagues and counterparts, therefore allowing you to expand into new global markets, pitch effectively across cultures and improve working relationships.

Our cultural training tool allows you to develop better relationships with customers and colleagues by understanding their culture – a fundamental part of their identity. Click here to find out more.

Commit to developing cultural awareness with Country Navigator

Subscribe to our newsletter and make cultural learning a weekly habit.
Click here to join our network of global go-getters. 

across cultures

About the Author

Patti McCarthy

Patti McCarthy

Patti McCarthy is an expatriate & life coach who helps migrants and expatriates to not just survive the experience but actively enjoy it. For further information please visit

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Name *

11 − 5 =

Schedule a call
close slider
Schedule a conversation
Send us your details using the form below and one of our team will get back to you