It’s a well-known fact that the British work the longest hours in Europe. They can work from 65 to 80 hours per week and even during European night hours in order to be available during the American working hours. And especially in our era of technology, many executives need to reply to emails and stay in touch through the night hours.
The British are short-term orientated and target driven. They are accustomed to tight deadlines and do what they can to accomplish them. Therefore they experience lots of stress at work. And apart from the normal working hours, they often work overtime as well.
In the UK it is wise to make meeting appointments a few days in advance. After you arrive in the country, you should always confirm the details of any meeting by telephone or email. The best time to schedule a business meeting is at about 10 Am., especially during the initial stages of negotiations.
You should consider the following steps in order to have a successful meeting in the United Kingdom.
Business meeting planning
- Inform all the participants in written form about where and when the meeting will take place
- Send an agenda beforehand to all the involved parties
- If you have to use some equipment, come earlier and test everything
- Prepare materials to distribute
- Sometimes a video conference can be held, which is the best way to gather people who are very busy
- Provide a background of your company in advance
- Punctuality is appreciated
- The meeting is led by a chairman
- A secretary will take notes, but you should also take them on your own
- The meeting will follow an agenda, however some external interruptions can be expected
- Some people will answer to their calls during the meeting
- Speak in a detached and emotionless way, they consider it professional
- There is a hierarchical structure, so the senior manager always makes a final decision
- If there is a non-English speaker in the room, ensure that you have an interpreter present
- The notes from the meeting will be provided to all participants
- If there is no notes provided to you, try to follow-up yourself with an e-mail and by providing the topics discussed and concluded during the meeting to all participants
- Check if the contract is signed by a senior person (if there is consensus)
- Circulate a memo and ensure that everyone knows who is doing what and are the deliverables deadlines
- It is acceptable to make a telephone call to the attendees of the meeting before the next meeting, in order to follow up on the progress o or to clarify any questions that may liner from the previous meeting
And remember that if there are some problems that may have emerged, try to deal with them immediately. So by the time of the next meeting, everything is understood and clarified. By doing this you will ensure credibility and improve motivation and confidence from your British counterparts.
Do you want to know how to run meetings and projects in North American and European cultures, Latin and Arab cultures and Asian cultures?
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