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Culture Shock?

First impressions count. Here's how to get the most out of that initial business meeting.

This story appears in the May 1998 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

It's your first big trip abroad to meet potential partnersin . After settling in, they throw a dinner party in yourhonor. At one point during the festivities, they offer you thegratuitous fish eye (for your consumption, of course). Now, behonest: Did their gift catch you off guard?

It shouldn't have, especially since this scenariois harmonious with Indonesian . And as any entrepreneurwho's conducted overseas meetings can tell you, the only way toprevail in the initial face-to-face meetings with potentialpartners is to acquire--and demonstrate--a thorough understandingof their culture. If you do your homework, chances are you canminimize the surprises and maximize the results.

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