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  Does that sound a little funny to you?
No, it doesn't. Large companies that deal a lot with foreign countries tend to employ people whose sole purpose it is to train new employees, who have to deal with those foreign countries, in cultural differences. For instance, a German company that exports to the rest of Europe would employ someone knowledgeable on French, Spanish, Italian, etc. business etiquette. Perhaps, for the US, they would distinguish between California-style, MidWest-style and NY-style; I don't know. I only know that there are people whose bread and butter is to teach others about these differences.

What kind of study prepares you for that? It's closest to cultural anthropology. I would expect it to come easy to sociologists and psychologists with interests in the matter.

Even between The Netherlands and Belgium, there are subtle differences that can be the difference between a deal and a failure. Learn those in a few one hour seminars and the mutual understanding and relationships get easier, or at least not unnecessarily complicated by misunderstandings that can be avoided. On the contrary, within a much larger country like France, even though there are differences and dislikes, especially between north and south, people tend to understand each other better. In Europe, these differences follow borders pretty well.

  how to speak to a black female Texan at a business luncheon?
You can't be prepared for every individual's idiosynchrasies. You can be prepared for what most people that share a similar cultural background expect, even if they aren't aware of it.



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