Building Rapport with Fellow Lawyers and Clients During Business Trips

International business travel doesn’t have to be 100% business, as discussed by Owen Wild in a recent post. Taking the time to see some sites (even if you have to tack on a day at the beginning or end) can make any business trip less burdensome.  When I practiced law, I tried to arrive at my destination in advance of my meetings–unless I attended a closing, in which case I tacked on a day at the end of the trip.

If you are traveling with colleagues and/or clients, use the trip to build rapport. Owen Wild notes, “working in a strange city can be a real team-building experience.” Realize that although you are probably very comfortable spending time in another culture,  the same may not be true of your colleagues and clients.  Use your international savvy to make their trip more comfortable, “translating” and managing cultural differences for them.  For example, prepare them in advance for any cultural nuances in negotiation styles that may occur during upcoming meetings.

Be sure to ease your clients’ and colleagues’ concerns with some cultural hand holding. After a day’s meetings, discuss the cultural differences over dinner. This will increase their comfort level, build rapport and again highlight your value as a culturally savvy attorney.

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