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It's sometimes the little things that are crucial in international business.

This story appears in the September 2000 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

When you're dealing with international colleagues, chances are your mind is focused on the language of business: fees, contracts, sales, agreements and so on. But in global business, it can be those things you don't focus on--like how close to stand to someone or when to smile-that can make or break a deal.

"Researching body language and business customs is an important part of [doing business overseas]," says Jeanne Gerritsen, a consultant for the Michigan Small Business Development Center and principal of Farmington, Michigan-based consulting firm Business and Economic Development International.

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