When in Rome: Travel Tips for the Globe Trotting Manager

Last Updated Sep 3, 2008 1:21 PM EDT

  • Red Square, MoscowThe Find: Sometimes the success of an international deal depends just as much on how you handle your vodka as on the content of the contract, so the Economist has rounded up practical etiquette tips to help managers headed to Moscow (and other cities) make the right impression.
  • The Source: The Moscow entry of the Economist's Gulliver blog for the globe trotting business person.
The Takeaway: The Economist covers business internationally and presumably the folks behind the magazine rack up a fair number of air miles each year. Now they've decided to share all their insights about the business culture and basic etiquette in cities around the world so that managers heading abroad can focus their attention on their business rather than their table manners. This week attention to turns to Moscow where, not surprisingly, a fair number of the Economist's tips revolve around how to handle your alcohol. Among the advice:
  1. Pay attention to your clothing. Russians dress as well as they can afford to, and rarely do "slacker" style... Arriving at a meeting at the Kremlin wearing a polo-neck sweater instead of a shirt and tie is rumored to have been one of the reasons why Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Yukos, his oil company, were destroyed by the government.
  2. Boozing is a big part of social life and if you're not inclined to get drunk, it's best to say that you are on antibiotics.
  3. On business trips in the provinces, a valedictory feast punctuated by frequent toasts may be unavoidable. If you know you are in for a marathon, try lining your stomach with fat first by eating a large chunk of butter, perhaps spread thickly on some bread. You will stay sober longer.
  4. There are several widely held superstitions. Don't shake hands through a doorway, light a cigarette from a candle, give someone an even number of flowers. Even numbers of flowers are traditionally reserved for the dead.
Many more usefully specific tips are available for those bound for Russia. Other cities recently covered in the series include Sao Paolo, Mumbai, Brussels and Beijing.

The Question: Any other hard won wisdom for the manager heading to Moscow?

(Image of snow in Red Square by lonesome:cycler, CC 2.0)

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    Jessica lives in London where she works as a freelance writer with interests in green business and tech, management, and marketing.