Belgian business culture  guide - Learn about Belgium
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Belgian business culture guide - Learn about Belgium

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http://businessculture.org - Find out about business culture in Belgium. This guide is part of the Passport to Trade 2.0 project, which examined European Business culture in 31 countries looking at......

http://businessculture.org - Find out about business culture in Belgium. This guide is part of the Passport to Trade 2.0 project, which examined European Business culture in 31 countries looking at business communication, business etiquette, business meeting etiquette, internship and student placements, cost of living, work-life-balance and social media guide.

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  • 1.            |  1     businessculture.org Business Culture in Belgium   http://businessculture.org/westerneurope/business-culture-in-belgium/ Last updated: 30.09.2013 businessculture.org   This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This Content   cannot be publication reflects the view only of the author, and the Commission Germany   held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
  • 2.            |  2     TABLE  OF  CONTENT   Business  Culture  in  Belgium  ......................................................................................................  4   Xenophobia: being a foreigner in Belgium .......................................................................................... 5   International Business .......................................................................................................................... 6   General Education ............................................................................................................................... 6   Educational standards .......................................................................................................................... 7   Cultural taboos ..................................................................................................................................... 7   Business  Communication  ..........................................................................................................  8   Face-to-face communication ................................................................................................................ 8   Language Matters................................................................................................................................. 9   Business Relationships ........................................................................................................................ 10   Making contact ................................................................................................................................... 10   Personal titles ...................................................................................................................................... 11   Business  Etiquette  ..................................................................................................................  12   Corporate Social Responsibility ......................................................................................................... 12   Punctuality .......................................................................................................................................... 12   Gift giving ........................................................................................................................................... 12   Business Dress Code ........................................................................................................................... 13   Bribery and corruption ....................................................................................................................... 13   Business  Meeting  Etiquette  ....................................................................................................  14   Importance of Business Meeting ........................................................................................................ 14   Business Meeting planning ................................................................................................................. 14   Negotiation process ............................................................................................................................ 15   Meeting protocol ................................................................................................................................ 16   How to Run a Business Meeting ........................................................................................................ 16   Follow up letter after meeting with client ........................................................................................... 16   Business meals .................................................................................................................................... 17   Business Meeting tips.......................................................................................................................... 18   businessculture.org   Content  Belgium  
  • 3.            |  3     Internship  and  placement  .......................................................................................................  19   Work experience................................................................................................................................. 19   Internship and Placement advice ....................................................................................................... 19   Social security and European health insurance ................................................................................. 19   Safety .................................................................................................................................................. 19   Do I need a visa? ................................................................................................................................ 19   Internship and placement salary ........................................................................................................ 20   Internship and placement accommodation ........................................................................................ 20   Cost  of  Living  ...........................................................................................................................  21   Money and Banking ........................................................................................................................... 21   Traveling costs .................................................................................................................................... 21   Work-­‐life  Balance   ....................................................................................................................  22   National holidays ................................................................................................................................ 23   Working hours .................................................................................................................................... 23   Working culture .................................................................................................................................. 24   Health insurance ................................................................................................................................ 24   Social  Media  Guide  .................................................................................................................  26   Private Individuals .............................................................................................................................. 26   SMEs .................................................................................................................................................. 26   Search and Social Media Marketing for International Business ........................................................ 26     businessculture.org   Content  Belgium  
  • 4.            |  4     Business  Culture  in  Belgium   This first section provides you with a very short introduction to Belgium. External links at the end of the page provide you with more in-depth information about relevant topics. The following video gives you an overview of the general facts: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=hP0GIBcWiD8) Belgium is bordered by the Netherlands in the north, by Germany in the east, by Luxembourg in the southeast, and by France in the south. Its western coast faces the English Channel and the North Sea. It has two main rivers, the Scheldt (Schelde/Escaut) and the Meuse (Maas). With a population of just under 10.5 million and a surface area of 30,528 km2 Belgium is, after the Netherlands and San Marino, the most densely populated country in Europe. One village often leads into another. Although by affiliation a predominantly Catholic country (although this is not supported by church attendance), Belgium practices freedom of religion. The single most significant characteristic of Belgium is the Germanic/Romance languages linguistic divide, which cuts the country into two more or less from East to West. There is no generally accepted explanation for this, but it was firmly established as the country emerged from the so-called Dark Ages. Following the implementation of language laws enacted between 1873 and 1963 French, Dutch and German have been the country’s official languages and there are various stipulations regarding their use. At the last census, 60% of Belgium’s inhabitants were Dutch speakers, nearly 40% French speakers and less than 1% German speakers. In fact, it comes as a surprise to many foreigners to discover that the most spoken language of the country is indeed Flemish (the local form of Dutch) and not French. The landscape of Belgium is remarkably varied. It extends from the Polderland of Flanders with its jewel-like mediaeval towns, through the Pajottenland to Brussels, onwards to the Ice Age landscape of the Fagnes/Vennen in the east, the heathlands of the Kempen/Campine in the north and southwards, to the exquisite valley of the Meuse and the sweeping uplands of businessculture.org     Content  Belgium  
  • 5.              |  5   the Ardennes, with much more in between. The highest elevation in the country is just below 700 meters, while much of the northern provinces are only slightly above sea level. In geographic terms, Belgium is divided into ten provinces. These (and their populations) are Antwerp (1,680,000), Limburg (810,000), East Flanders (1,377,000), West Flanders (1,136,700), Vlaams-Brabant (1,037,000), Brabant Walloon (363,500), Hainaut (1,282,500), Namur (455,500), Liège (1,028, 800) and Luxembourg (256,000), the last of these being an entirely separate entity from the neighbouring Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. The population of Brussels the Capital is about 1 million. The average temperature in Belgium is 9.8º C, average annual rainfall is 780 mm and the average annual number of hours of sunshine is 1,555. Belgium’s reputation for rain is justified, yet it often passes almost unnoticed as the climate away from the coast tends to feel continental rather than Atlantic. Belgium is in the time zone of UTC+1. However, during the summertime (March to October) the clock is changed to summer time UTC+2. Xenophobia:  being  a  foreigner  in  Belgium   According to Professor Jan Kerkhofs of Leuven University (KUL), a consensus exists in Belgium on fundamental values. The Flemish and Walloons are closer together in their value judgements than either the Flemish are with the Dutch or the Walloons with the French. While there are noticeable behavioural differences between individuals and to some extent between Communities, the Flemish often show more self-awareness than the Walloons, for example, Belgians in general tend to be self-effacing in comparison with their neighbours, the French or the Dutch. History has taught them to keep their own counsel and be selfreliant. This can be very perplexing for people from other cultures who, when they put a question to someone, expect a clear answer. The Belgian tendency is to avoid an immediate commitment and wait for the situation to evolve. In management situations, this hesitancy can also be caused by a sense of submission to authority which, although no longer as marked as it was thirty years ago, is still there, particularly when you get closer to the shop-floor. A British manager of a Belgian manufacturing subsidiary quoted in Richard Hill’s book The Art of being Belgian that: “In Belgium, there is a strong sense of hierarchy and people working for me wouldn’t disagree with me or offer their opinions. I realised the Flemish are quite reserved and now I work with this, instead of against it.” This is confirmed by the experiences of many CEOs of so-called Benelux subsidiaries, who have found out the hard way that, if you present a management decision to your Dutch employees, they will challenge your decision and may well propose alternatives. Present the same decision to your Belgian employees and they will say nothing but still not ‘buy in’ to it, in other words, you will experience a covert resistance. This reserved nature is balanced, however, by the pragmatism and ultimate common sense of the average Belgian. People are results-oriented and very hard workers provided the employer respects the rules. It is possible to develop a warm relationship with a Belgian, perhaps more so in the case of the Flemish than the Walloons, but it may take time. businessculture.org     Content  Belgium  
  • 6.              |  6   With the exception of those with a compulsion for upward mobility, Belgians are essentially very amiable and polite people. Status symbols mean very little to most of them, although they aspire almost universally to two things, their own home (generally a house in the outer suburbs) and a decent car. International  Business   When doing business in a foreign country, you need to be prepared to experience things that are different from your own culture. Without proper preparation and planning you may find yourself experiencing culture shock which can have a negative influence on the outcome of the business. It is understandable that, as an active business person, you can only invest a limited amount of time into the exploration of these cultural differences. General  Education   Belgian educational standards are generally very high in all parts of the country. University education is the responsibility of the French and Flemish Communities. Among the larger Belgian universities, two are governmental institutions: the French-language Université de Liège and the Dutch-language Universiteit Gent. The remaining four major universities are private but heavily subsidised. The Catholic University of Louvain, founded in 1425, split into two universities in 1970. The Frenchspeaking Université Catholique de Louvain, which has approximately 17,000 students, is located in the town of Louvain-la-Neuve; the Dutch-speaking Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, in the Flemish city of Leuven, has about 22,500 students. The University of Brussels, founded in 1834 on the principle of libre examen, also became two universities in the spring of 1970: the French-speaking Université Libre de Bruxelles, with some 12,500 students; and the Dutch-speaking Vrije Universiteit Brussel, with approximately 6,000 students. There are also a number of other universities, as well as university-level professional and technical schools and academies of art and music offering a higher, non-university education, and international business management schools. Degrees and diplomas are defined by law and are the following: Candidature/Kandidatuur: The first cycle of study, is completed by successfully passing approximately 10 examinations covering 380 hours of class work at the end of each year. This is not a final diploma and represents two years of study (three in the case of medicine and veterinary medicine). Licence/Licentiaat: The second cycle of university study and the basic Belgian university degree: requires, first, the successful completion of the “candidature/kandidatuur” or its equivalent, and second, the passing of approximately 10 examinations at the end of each year covering about 380 hours of class work. Duration: two years in most fields (three in dentistry, law, psychology, engineering, and veterinary medicine; four in medicine). Doctorat/Doctoraat: Represents three or four additional years of research and the presentation of a thesis. Other third cycle programmes, such as a Licence spéciale/ bijzondere licentie may last one or two years. businessculture.org     Content  Belgium  
  • 7.            |  7     Agrégation/Aggregatie: Represents at least three years after the “doctorat” and the presentation of a more important thesis. University qualifications are essential in many sectors of Belgian business and are taken very seriously. They more or less predetermine the ‘pecking order’ in certain disciplines. Most young Belgians are both linguistically proficient (particularly in the Flemish Community) and computer-literate. Educational  standards   When doing business in a foreign country it helps to have some knowledge of the language and computer competency of your counterparts. You can then decide whether it is safe to rely on the host speaking your language or whether it is necessary to travel with an interpreter. Computers and electronic communications can significantly increase the pace of business negotiations. At least some awareness of your business partner’s computer literacy may help you adjust both your expectations and the degree to which you incorporate the appropriate technology into your negotiations. It may help you save valuable financial resources as well as time. Other Issues such as transportation infrastructure Internationally, Belgium has always been a very open society. Important communities of second and third generation immigrants can be found in most parts of the country: Italians and Poles in Charleroi and the old coal-mining regions of the Borinage in the south and Limburg in the north, Arabs and Turks in inner Brussels, and an important Jewish community associated with the diamond industry in Antwerp. The country now provides simplified work permit procedures for immigrants from all EU countries, including the latest member states in Central and Eastern Europe. Belgians are not a particularly mobile people: they tend to stick to their roots. However, there is a rapidly increasing expatriate Belgian community of business people, largely reflecting the natural pragmatism and flexibility of the Belgian mindset: comfortable with cultural ambiguities, linguistically skilled, modest yet knowing their own value, and disinclined to impose their own culture on others. Cultural  taboos   Although Belgium is a relatively open culture, there are some issues that are best avoided, particularly at the beginning of a relationship. Behaviours to avoid: • • • • • addressing people from the outset by their first name making extravagant physical gestures (backslapping, hugging, etc.) talking with your hands in your pockets pointing with the index finger chewing gum or spitting in public businessculture.org     Content  Belgium  
  • 8.            |  8     • asking personal or intimate questions Discussion topics to avoid: • • • • • • what people earn their political affiliations (avoid politics altogether!) community issues (Flemish identity, Walloon dependency on Flemish bail-outs, etc.) religion racial minorities dress, appearance or weight  Business  Communication   The following section focuses on the communication aspects of business practice. Issues such as verbal and non-verbal communication are discussed with an accent on normative business etiquette. Also included, is information about general Belgian working practices and habits that may be relevant for business negotiations. Miscommunication during a business encounter may have serious consequences on the success of the deal. Whereas we may not find any problems when communicating with our business partner in our mother country, this situation may rapidly change when negotiating business abroad. In a foreign country you will usually come across people from different backgrounds and thus their style of communication will also differ. Without awareness of this issue you may experience culture shock when dealing with your business partners, cause yourself embarrassment and consequently make your counterpart uncomfortable. While outwardly modest on the international scene, most Belgians know their own value and are conscious of their roots. The existence of parallel cultures, Flemish, Walloon (French) and German in the same small country makes it particularly important to address individuals in their language of preference. The simplest way to avoid any communication glitches is to use English. It is also worth remembering that Belgians have a close attachment to their local community, even at the level of the town or village. Asking where someone comes from is rarely likely to be found intrusive. This section will focus on the successful mastery of the initial contact that is particularly important for creating a positive image. Verbal as well as non-verbal aspects of business communication will be outlined. It is particularly important to note that all commercial publicity or display material should be presented in the language of the community concerned (though some foreign companies cheat by publishing everything in English!). Face-­‐to-­‐face  communication   Introductions may be difficult as they depend on the circumstances of a particular situation. Generally, the best practice is to be introduced by a third party. However, in certain situations this may not be possible. When introducing yourself, it is essential to shake hands in a firm manner. When shaking hands with a woman, it is polite to wait for her to proffer her hand and then squeeze it gently. businessculture.org     Content  Belgium  
  • 9.              |  9   Belgians may look to you to ‘break the ice’. Choose a general topic, avoiding issues like language, Belgian politics, or questions about the other party’s family life. A good starting point can be a comment on the high quality of Belgian food, beer or chocolate. Fallbacks, depending on the interests of the other party, are football, popular music, cartoons (Belgium has the highest ratio of successful professional cartoonists of any country in the world) or tennis, at which the Belgians currently excel. If you are French or Dutch, avoid making jokes at the Belgians’ expense. As a rule, the Flemish Belgians tend to be a little more focused on the task at hand. The difference was well expressed by a young Flemish consultant who said: “When I send an email to a Walloon, I come straight to the point. But when my Walloon colleague emails back, he starts by asking me how I am and did I have a good weekend?… and then he gets to the point. And I feel angry. I ask myself, is that because of what the politicians keep telling me, or is it simply because we are different? But, when I meet my Walloon friend, we get on very well together and we enjoy ourselves.” However, in their underlying value systems, all Belgians tend to share the same priorities: conflict avoidance, attachment to one’s roots, mistrust of authority (a German journalist married to a Flemish Belgian concluded that “the Belgian defers to any authority yet, in his heart, he is a convinced anarchist”), and a proper appreciation of the good things in life. Generally, the foreigner can expect an amiable, even warm, reception from Belgians in business. The pervasive good nature of the people is well summed up by the Dutch journalist Derk-Jan Eppink who, in his book Belgian Adventures writes: “After much reflection, I am now convinced that a Dutchman who comes to live in Belgium will never be the same Dutchman ever again. Belgium reforms you. Belgium deforms you – but in the nicest possible way. So what has Belgium changed in me? Above all, Belgium has helped me to put things in their proper perspective; to see that there is not just one universal truth, but a whole range of different truths; to understand that no one person is always right, but that lots of people are sometimes a little bit right”. Language  Matters   Foreign language competence is generally typical of educated Belgians, more so in the case of the Flemish than the French speakers. This reflects the fact that the country lies on a linguistic fault-line and has also had to negotiate and trade with other countries in order to survive. Most Flemish speakers you encounter in international business will have good English and French, in addition to their mother tongue, and may also be conversant with German. French is the second language of choice in most Flemish SMEs. Foreign language competence in the French-speaking Community is largely limited to approximate English. International reports show that Flanders, by teaching an average of 2.6 foreign languages per student, is close to the top of the European league. The recent success of similar initiatives in the French Community, with the vast majority choosing Dutch as a language of immersion, is prompting further initiatives on foreign-language teaching at primary school level in Flanders as well. French has officially been compulsory in primary education since September 2004. Otherwise, the most popular second language taught in all areas of Belgium is English, which is generally integrated into teaching programmes in Flanders from the age of 13-14. businessculture.org     Content  Belgium  
  • 10.            |  10     Thus, international negotiations in Belgium are generally conducted in English, although French may be an option. It will rarely be necessary to use interpreters when negotiating with Belgian business people. In fact, doing so may even be regarded as showing a lack of trust. Provincial people, both the Flemish when speaking French and the Walloons, have no inhibitions about addressing strangers with the familiar tu. Likewise they will use the formal uw and vous as a sign of respect when addressing senior family members and colleagues. The following topics are safe and suitable for discussions with your Belgian counterparts: • • • • • • • • • • • The weather – e.g. “Nice day!” Food and drink – e.g. “Would you like a cup of coffee?” or “Are you hungry?” Travel – e.g. “How was the journey?” or “Did you have a pleasant flight?” Family – e.g. “Please give my best regards to your wife” Entertainment – e.g. “Did you see the film last night on TV?” Holidays – e.g. “When do you plan to go on holiday?” Music – e.g. “Do you like pop music?” News – e.g. “Did you hear about the demonstrations in France?” Sport, particularly football, cycling or tennis – “I see the winner was a Belgian!” General topics – e.g. “How was your day yesterday?” or “See you on Monday.” If you know that your partner has a particular interest – such as a hobby, studies, work, cars – you can focus the discussion around the topic. The golden rule is not to attempt to find out too much personal information as this might be considered an intrusion into the privacy that Belgians value greatly. Business  Relationships   While not as focused on this as their neighbours the French, most Belgians attach a lot of importance to developing personal relationships, the Walloons somewhat more so than the Flemish, although this is important for both communities. The Walloons are particularly ‘relationship-oriented’, more so than the Flemish who tend to be more ‘task-oriented’. The difference between the two Communities is essentially a question of priorities: the Walloons are inclined to develop the relationship in order to complete the task, whereas the Flemish will concentrate more on the task while at the same time investing in the relationship. All Belgians, however, are inclined to set a strict dividing line between business and social matters. The private life of most Belgians is ‘off limits’ for anyone except family and close friends. Depending on the size of the business, it is usual practice not to consider a deal complete until it has been acknowledged and confirmed in writing . Thus, it is crucial to ensure that all the conditions and characteristics of a deal discussed during a meeting are included in the written document. Making  contact   A handshake is the usual form of greeting in Belgium, accompanied by an appropriate phrase like ‘good day’. In a social as opposed to a business setting, women and people of the businessculture.org     Content  Belgium  
  • 11.              |  11   opposite sex may also kiss – generally three times starting with the right cheek (the left cheek from the point of view of the person kissing): Walloon men may also kiss one another if they are old friends. When meeting someone for the first time, the Flemish and German speakers are likely to be more reserved than the Walloons. French speakers in the Brussels region may also be relatively formal. Normally, welcomes and responses will be warm without being overly intimate. In business meetings, it is customary for a new arrival to go round the room shaking all the participants by the hand. The ‘intimate zone’ of most Belgians tends to be in the region of 50 cm. When meeting for the first time, ensure steady eye contact when listening. Avoid intense eye contact as this may be felt to be invasive. Personal  titles   Titles and qualifications (Ingenieur, etc) are used sparingly in Belgium, without resorting to the informality that is characteristic of the British or Americans. With the exception of university professors and lawyers, it is not normal to address individuals by their professional titles, in contrast to the practice in Germanic or some Nordic cultures. First names should only be used once a relationship has been established, and preferably at the initiative of the Belgian party. Particular attention needs to be paid to the older members of any organisation. Remember also, that if you venture into French or Flemish, you will be confronted with the option of using the intimate ‘you’ or the formal one. To be on the safe side, stick to the formal method of address until your Belgian colleague indicates otherwise. businessculture.org     Content  Belgium  
  • 12.              |  12   Business  Etiquette     Attitudes and values form the basis of any culture. They reflect both the way people think and the way they behave. Their knowledge can therefore be of significant importance if you wish to communicate with your counterparts effectively. Ignorance of these issues can result in a cultural barrier that may inhibit the communication process and have an adverse effect on the success of your activities in a given country. How important is the work-life balance for Belgians? How important is punctuality and timekeeping? How do Belgians value fairness in business? Although seemingly unimportant, the understanding of these issues may prove to be priceless when doing business. All too often these issues are neglected during the preparation phase, despite their importance for success. The following section will introduce you to the essential attitudes and values that apply in Belgium and highlight their implications for business practice. Corporate  Social  Responsibility   Attitudes to environmental issues have evolved rapidly in Belgium over the last 20 years, both at the public awareness level and in terms of government intervention. Controls on manufacturing industries are now, in some cases, considered to be almost draconian, though the desire to maintain employment levels quite often tempers the enthusiasm of the authorities concerned. Municipal waste management is highly organised, with the responsibility for waste sorting falling largely on the shoulders of the individual citizen. With the country featuring two large rivers – the Scheldt (Schelde/Escaut) and the Meuse (Maas) – water quality is a major issue. Contrary to the beliefs of some foreigners and the insistence of local restaurateurs, the tap water in most parts of the country is perfectly drinkable. Punctuality   Belgians are generally good timekeepers, although the Flemish Belgians tend to be more meticulous than the Walloons. Punctuality in business is generally regarded as a virtue, although apologies for a late arrival will be accepted good-naturedly. In the case of social events, attitudes on the right time to arrive may vary according to community and class (as far as class can be considered a valid form of identification in this relatively classless society). Gift  giving   Gift giving is not normally an aspect of business relations in Belgium. If you decide that some sort of gesture is appropriate, for example on closing a deal, make the gift a reasonably businessculture.org     Content  Belgium  
  • 13.            |  13     modest one and make sure it is logo neutral. Nothing should be given with the company logo, or with your business card attached. If you are offered a gift, open it right away and show your appreciation. Many of the more traditional Belgian companies offer end-of-year gifts and these should be acknowledged. If you have the honour of being invited into a Belgian home, by all means take a gift for the hostess: flowers, chocolates (for which Belgium is famous), but not wine. The rules on flowers are the same as for most other European countries – no chrysanthemums or carnations, and no yellow flowers (yellow implies that her husband has a mistress) – and the flowers should be sent in advance. A handwritten note of appreciation the following day will also always be welcome. Business  Dress  Code   It is normal to wear a jacket, not necessarily a suit, in most Belgian organisations, although the younger high-tech companies may happily tolerate an open-neck shirt and jeans. Colour has no particular significance, though it may be preferable to avoid looking too jazzy. The quality of clothing is of only marginal importance in a culture that shows relatively little class-consciousness. Apart from making sure that your shoes are reasonably smart and wellpolished, it is enough to avoid looking grubby. Women, the younger generation in particular, may wear trousers, particularly trouser suits. When in doubt about the dress code for a particular business event, it is advisable to be well dressed rather than under-dressed. Uniforms, except for hygiene workers and chefs etc., are rarely worn. If unsure of the dress code and what to wear, it is perfectly acceptable to ask someone from the company you are visiting. Although Belgium has one of the highest average annual rainfalls in Western Europe, the weather is rarely a major problem. A raincoat is normally sufficient without the addition of an umbrella. Bribery  and  corruption   Under-the-table payments, by potential suppliers to company buyers, were not an unusual feature of the Belgian business scene even 30 years ago, but the practice has since largely been stamped out. In Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index for 2012, the country claims 16th position on the world scale with a score of 75. In March 1999, Belgian anti-bribery legislation was completely revised. Included within this revision was an extension of the Belgian courts’ powers regarding extraterritorial bribery. Bribing foreign officials is a criminal offence in Belgium. businessculture.org     Content  Belgium  
  • 14.              |  14   Business  Meeting  Etiquette     Meetings are a normal feature of the Belgian business scene, either face-to-face or, with the predominance of international activities and the emergence of virtual teams, over the telecom/Internet network. They vary in their nature and content, but are a very common part of organisational life. Increasingly, meetings are team-oriented, with or without the participation of senior management. Project team meetings may be planned at short notice and often go on longer than the participants really want. It may be necessary to plan ahead when arranging meetings with senior executives, as agendas tend to be booked up some time in advance. If you are planning a sales visit to propose a product or service that you represent, be sure to make arrangements well in advance. You may be able to arrange a meeting over lunch, particularly if you are arriving and leaving the same day. The traditional formula of coming to meet the chief buyer but spending a lengthy lunch with the senior manager, as still practised in France, is dying out. If formal presentations are planned, then the venue of meetings, who needs to attend, and any required equipment, (e.g. PowerPoint or overhead projector), need to be arrangedin advance. Plan to keep to time, even if the meeting overruns, and try to leave with a firm conclusion. You may wish to submit draft minutes or a memorandum of understanding later. Internet and video conferencing and conference calls are a regular event these days. Belgian executives generally prefer face-to-face contact, but are rapidly adapting to the new technologies. Importance  of  Business  Meeting   It is good practice in Belgium to make an appointment at least a few days in advance: once the timing has been agreed there is no need to check or reconfirm. If you later have a conflict of priorities, explain the situation to your Belgian partner and he or she will certainly understand and make an alternative arrangement. The most suitable time for a business meeting is probably about 10 a.m. If the proceedings are positive, it may lead to lunch, when the agenda can range from a continuation of the business discussion to purely social affairs. This will help build the sense of mutual trust that is so important to Belgians. If you have a specific product or proposition to offer, by all means supply some background details (price excepted) in advance. Information about the other company may well be available on the Internet. Business  Meeting  planning   businessculture.org     Content  Belgium  
  • 15.            |  15     Being pragmatic and relatively non-hierarchical people compared with some other European cultures, many Belgian managers can be approached directly for an appointment: this certainly applies in the SME sector, where the younger generation of managers has abandoned the autocratic style of its predecessors. Only occasionally will you find yourself dealing with a secretary or personal assistant. If confirmation is necessary, this can be done by e-mail. Normally, agendas for the meeting will not be exchanged in advance. In fact, there may well be no formal agenda at all as many Belgians prefer to ‘feel their way’ and leave themselves with the flexibility to work around to a sensible compromise. Punctuality is generally appreciated in Belgium and meetings will not normally be allowed to run on too long. In the case of social events, plan to arrive 5-10 minutes after the time indicated on the invitation. Accessibility to meeting venues should not normally be a problem. The transport infrastructure in the main cities is generally excellent and taxi services are regulated. Negotiation  process   With a long history in import and export, Belgians tend to be skilled but sympathetic negotiators. They have a flexible approach to forging win-win deals, hence the reputation of the traditional Belgian compromise. It may not be the ideal solution, but everyone comes out of it with their reputation and pride intact. The Belgian negotiating manner, both Flemish and Walloon, is the opposite of the Dutch. It is not their style to stick on matters of principle, although they have clear principles of their own. Their approach is more exploratory, relationship-oriented and flexible. They have good listening skills, but this does not automatically mean they agree with you. Where the Dutch will insist, in project work, on respecting the original specification to the finest detail, the Belgians will compromise intelligently in order to eliminate a problem. Negotiation styles do not vary a lot between the different communities. The Flemish may be a bit more direct and incisive than the Walloons, who tend to be more relationship-oriented, while the older class of French-speaking Brussels business person (not to be confused with the Walloons) may be rather more formal. Men and women will normally be treated as equals, as will representatives from ethnic minorities. The general Belgian attitude to negotiation is exploratory and initially non-committal, using the problem-solving approach and attempting to build bridges between divergent interests. Your counterparts will be receptive to your ideas provided they make basic sense. The desire to find an arrangement that is satisfactory to both sides can encourage the Belgians to develop creative solutions that are unconventional but which serve their purpose. Make sure you allow time for this to happen. A serious mistake made by some would-be negotiators, Anglo-Saxon in particular, is to start the meeting by saying something like “we have to wrap this up by five as I have a plane to catch…”. businessculture.org     Content  Belgium  
  • 16.            |  16     It may make sense to send one of your senior managers to negotiate, although Belgium is rapidly evolving from what is called an ‘ascription-based’ culture to an ‘achievement-based’ one. The closer you get to the leading-edge technologies, the younger the managers are likely to be. Negotiations will normally be conducted in English. At most you may find it necessary to have a French-language interpreter present. Meeting  protocol   Start by shaking hands, saying something like ‘good day – a pleasure to meet you’, and presenting your business card to all involved: this may take a few minutes to conclude but is time well invested. You should refrain from too vigorous a handshake or physical contact such as backslapping. Smiling suggests positive intentions but, again, should not be overdone. Sometimes, in a meeting with many attendees, the chairperson will go round the room, with each person introducing themselves, with their name and job title, or if external to the organisation, the company they represent. How  to  Run  a  Business  Meeting   When running a meeting, the most important factor to be aware of is the planning and preparation necessary to ensure the meeting achieves its objectives. Ensure all the required attendees are aware of the meeting, and any necessary work they may need to do in advance. It is important to know who will be attending and what their specific functions are. Ensure the location is thought through, that the room has all the required facilities, and holds enough space for the numbers likely to attend. If you are responsible for the meeting, it is advisable to arrive early to check the room layout and ensure that enough chairs are available. Also make sure there is a reasonable supply of good coffee as well as soft drinks. You will most probably be able to fall back on English as the lingua franca for the occasion. If simultaneous translation is felt to be essential, then make sure the choice of interpreter(s) is acceptable to both sides. It is generally accepted as courteous to allow other people to speak, and not to interrupt them when they are speaking. It is also useful to obtain feedback after the meeting and establish what the attendees thought of the content and what was discussed. Follow  up  letter  after  meeting  with  client   It is advisable to send a written record of the decisions made at the meeting or a ‘memorandum of understanding’. Deadlines should be clearly stated and, if delivery of a product or service is involved, details of specifications and price confirmed. It is essential to businessculture.org     Content  Belgium  
  • 17.            |  17     give a firm and realistic delivery date. Ask for written confirmation of acceptance, but do not necessarily expect it unless a formal contract is involved. Your Belgian counterparts will be impressed by prompt follow-up of actions agreed at the meeting. Business  meals   Most Belgians, including the Flemish, think that socialising is an important element in the process of developing a successful business relationship. Added to this, most Belgians enjoy good food and, almost anywhere in the country, have a range of good restaurants to choose from. Business meals offer a unique opportunity for partners to spend quality time together whilst discussing business matters thoroughly, undisturbed and in an agreeable environment. Unlike their French neighbours, Belgians will discuss such matters throughout the course of the lunch or dinner and not just ‘between the pear and the cheese’ at the end of the meal. Most importantly, the business meal provides a suitable occasion to develop social relations that represent the core of the success of any business encounter in a foreign country. Although your Belgian counterpart is not seeking to create deep social bonds, these occasions provide the opportunity to develop trust and find out more about the other side. Attitudes to business meals The probability that you will be invited for a meal in a private home is low: the majority of business meals, including dinners, are held in restaurants, pubs or cafes. Generally, the most suitable time for a serious and fruitful business meal is lunch. Lunch in Belgium is usually taken between 12.30 and 2.30 p.m. Dinners are often a more sociable occasion (usually between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m.), with the accompaniment of partners on the Belgian side. Any discussion of business on such occasions should be done discreetly. Restaurant Etiquette Dining etiquette in Belgium is very much the same as in most other European countries. Common sense and general dining rules should be followed in order to cause neither embarrassment nor annoyance. The golden rules are: making an effort to eat and drink at the same pace as the rest of the group, not speaking with one’s mouth full, not stretching across the table, and not waving one’s cutlery about. Again, it is good practice to follow the host’s lead. The general rules of restaurant etiquette are as follows: • • • Turn off your mobile phone Keep your hands on the table If you can, avoid leaving anything on your plate businessculture.org     Content  Belgium  
  • 18.            |  18     • When you have finished your starter/main course, place your knife and fork at twenty to four with the points of the fork facing upwards (placing the fork the other way indicates you are still hungry and want a second helping) o It is not normal to tip in Belgium. Restaurant bills already include a service charge. Belgian cuisine is among the finest in Europe: it is difficult to find even a high street café that fails to offer a tempting lunch known as dagsschotel/plat du jour at a very reasonable price. Local specialities, in addition to the famous but misnamed ‘French fries’, include waterzooi (a delicate chicken or occasionally fish stew), rabbit in beer, salade liègeoise, the tasty local grey shrimps and, in season, mussels from Dutch Zeeland. The Belgians are also great coffee drinkers: good quality espresso can be found almost everywhere. Business  Meeting  tips   It may be appropriate to start a business meeting with an informal conversation, though this should not take too long. Ensure you bring enough business cards and information material about your company. The ideal time to hand out background material is at the beginning of the meeting. Negotiations and decisions are usually open and flexible. Your Belgian counterparts will favour a win/win approach. businessculture.org     Content  Belgium  
  • 19.            |  19      Internship  and  placement     Work  experience   Seeking a placement option in Belgium is not that easy. Much time, perseverance and initiative is required as placements are less common than in some other countries such as Germany. The capital Brussels is an exception, as the European Commission etc. offer a lot of possibilities. There are three official languages in Belgium: Dutch; French; and German. Consequently, language requirements will change depending on your location. However, in some roles English alone may be sufficient. Internship  and  Placement  advice   There are many practical issues relating to international placements that need to be taken care of either by the trainee or the host company. It must be remembered to reserve enough time for all the arrangements and the necessary formalities. The training organisations, educational institutions and home and host organisations are able to help with the formalities. Social  security  and  European  health  insurance   Being an EU member, your health insurance also works in Belgium. Make sure you take your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with you. However, foreign health insurance is also recommended, as well as accident insurance and liability insurance. Having health insurance is often obligatory for a visa application. Safety   Most visits to Belgium are trouble-free. Belgium is relatively free of violent crime. As in all big cities, you will find low-level street crime such as muggings, bag snatching, and pick pocketing particularly in tourist areas. Visitors should pay attention to their personal belongings at major train stations, like Gare du Midi/Zuidstation (South Station). The emergency phone number in Belgium with which you will reach fire, police and paramedics is 112. Do  I  need  a  visa?   Depending on the country you are coming from, you might need to get a Visa before you can work in Belgium. businessculture.org     Content  Belgium  
  • 20.              |  20   With the exception of nationals of Iceland, Monaco, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland, all non-EU member state nationals intending to exceed a 3 months stay in Belgium will need a visa (Schengen Type D). A foreigner coming to Belgium with the intention of working there needs a travel document (passport) with a validity of at least one year, a recent certificate of good conduct covering the last five years, a medical certificate by an Embassy-recognised physician and an employment authorisation. Once the visa is issued and the foreigner arrives in Belgium, he or she has to report to the municipal administration giving details of his or her place of destination in order to regularise the stay. In order to be able to work in Belgium, foreign workers must have a valid work permit. This condition does not apply to nationals of one of the member states of the European Economic Area (i.e. EU member states plus Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein), nor to certain categories of workers. A distinction must be made between two types of work permits. A work permit ‘A’ covers all kinds of salaried employment and has an indefinite validity: only a limited number of applicants qualify for this type of permit (e.g. applicants having a work permit ‘B’ and working in Belgium for more than four years, applicants residing legally in Belgium for an uninterrupted period of at least five years, etc.). If the foreign worker has a work permit ‘A’, the employer does not have to apply for an employment authorization. A work permit ‘B’ is only valid for employment by one employer and has a maximum validity of 12 months. Whenever an employer is issued with an employment authorization, the worker concerned is automatically eligible for a work permit ‘B’. The application has to be made by the Belgium-based employer. Internship  and  placement  salary   As internships are rather rare in Belgium, it is most likely that if you do find a placement, it will not be paid. Exceptions are placements within e.g. the European commission. These are mostly paid. Internship  and  placement  accommodation   If you are going to Belgium for a placement, you will need to find your own accommodation. In Brussels, rents can be quite high. In the more rural areas rents are much cheaper, but places are harder to find. businessculture.org     Content  Belgium  
  • 21.            |  21      Cost  of  Living     Living standards are quite high in Belgium. Money  and  Banking   All prices you see in Belgium already include VAT and service. If you are travelling to Belgium, it is good to bring at least a few Euros with you to use until you can get to a cash machine. Traveller’s Cheques used to be popular, however many places don’t accept them anymore. Take your credit and/or debit card with you for purchases and cash. Credit cards are widely used and accepted in Belgium, VISA is the most popular card, but MasterCard will also be accepted in most outlets. American Express and Diners Club are not as widely accepted. For the tourist, debit cards should be enabled on the Maestro or Cirrus network in order for you to be able to use these in Belgium. Proton, Bancontact and Mister Cash are Belgium’s three debit networks, but these are only available to you if you hold a Belgian bank account. On Mondays to Fridays the majority of the banks are open from 9am to 12pm and after a break, open again from 2pm to 4pm. Some banks are also open on Saturdays for a few hours in the morning and some have one day a week were they have late opening after 4pm. Belgium has the largest number of bank branches per head in the world. Furthermore, electronic banking has become quite common within recent years. It is possible to complete most banking transactions using an ATM or online banking application. You can even find banks which only operate online. Major Belgian Retail Banks are: • • • • • • • BNP Paribas Fortis KBC Groep Dexia (in French & Dutch) Citibank Belgium ING AXA Bank Belgium (in French & Dutch) Argenta (in French & Dutch) You will need your passport or identity card and a home address in Belgium in order to open a bank account. Furthermore, if you are a student from abroad, a bank may ask for a copy of the letter you received when registering at the Foreigner’s Registration Office of Belgium. Traveling  costs   Most of the time all travel expenses will need to be paid by the intern him-/herself. businessculture.org     Content  Belgium  
  • 22.              |  22    Work-­‐life  Balance     The historical presence of so many unwelcome foreigners, often fighting wars on what ultimately became Belgian territory, obliged the country’s people to fall back on their own resources. The best thing one could do in the circumstances was to keep one’s own counsel and keep out of harm’s way. One of the outcomes of this process was that the family became the core of Belgian social life. The spirit of family loyalty, though startlingly absent in some cases, is still very present today. It is evident, for example, in the disarmingly uncomplicated relationships between the different generations: grandparents, parents, teenagers, children all mix together in an unselfconscious way that is rarely seen in other cultures. The family offers an inner sanctum to which few strangers have the privilege of access. That does not preclude one from asking a Belgian how many children or brothers and sisters he/she has, nor does it inhibit your respondent from giving you full details. Belgians generally have a good appreciation of an effective work-life balance. They work to live, rather than the other way round, but generally manage to enjoy the business of working. However, being great enthusiasts for the good things in, they make sure that both work and leisure receive equal attention. The average summer holiday entitlement is a minimum of four weeks, and most Belgians who can afford it (or are not self-employed) make sure that they get a break that is at least that long. Many of them, particularly those working in strictly administrative functions, are in fact assiduous timekeepers. It is a matter of ‘nine-to-five’, or whatever the formula may be, and that is it! Yet they are generally hard and intelligent workers from nine to five. Belgian organisations are aware of the business case for work-life balance, and some of them are now introducing flexitime and related policies to ease the pressures, particularly since many of the larger companies are located in the main cities. Belgians, with their attachment to their local communities, often commute in to work from the countryside. Consequently, the morning and evening rush hours around Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent, Liege, etc, see enormous tailbacks of commuter road traffic, a challenge that employers are trying to address by staggering working hours. Home-working or teleworking is also slowly on the increase, mainly at the insistence of employees who want more time with their families and less time lost in commuting: recent legislation has acknowledged this reality and now makes flexible arrangements an accepted part of the employment landscape. They suit many Belgians, but are still only occasional practice, principally with the subsidiaries of foreign-owned multinational corporations. The traditional rump of SME business management however, still tends to view productivity as a matter of “bottoms on office seats”. Belgian law fixes working hours at 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week. Both limits must be observed simultaneously. These maximum limits may be reduced by collective agreement. businessculture.org     Content  Belgium  
  • 23.            |  23     National  holidays   Belgium observes many of the traditional Catholic holidays as well as others marking important historical events (National Day, Armistice Day, etc). Banks and shops are normally closed on these occasions. Most people who can afford it take a month’s vacation in July or August to coincide with the school holidays. Many families spend their free time on the Belgian North Sea coast or in the Ardennes, but foreign travel – either by road to the south of France or Italy, or by air to Mediterranean destinations or even further away – is becoming increasingly popular. If considering making a business trip to Belgium, avoid the months of July and August and the periods around Easter and the end-of-year holidays. Travel around Belgium is largely trouble-free, but avoid the morning and evening rush hours around the big cities. National Belgian public holidays are the following (there are also some regional events): • • • • • • • • • • • New Year’s Day Easter Day Easter Monday Labour Day Ascension Pentecost National Day Assumption All Saints Day Armistice Day Christmas Day 01.01. March/April March/April 01.05. May/June May/June 21.07. 15.08. 01.11. 11.11. 25.12 Working  hours   The traditional 8.30-5.30 (sometimes 9.00-6.00) five-day working week, with an hour off for lunch, generally still applies in most Belgian companies. Only middle-to-senior management confronted with a crisis situation are likely to work longer hours, possibly compensating with time off later. Generally, all levels, except possibly the very top, will respect the traditional working hours: however management may choose to come in later than administrative staff. This has a lot to do with the latter balancing their work with family life: by getting home by 5 p.m., they miss the rush hour and have time for their families and for leisure activities. Managers may take work home with them. Government and local administration offices are generally open to the public from 8.30 a.m. – 1.00 p.m. Most stores are open from 9.00 a.m. – 6.00 p.m. For shops, opening hours are largely deregulated, but are limited to a maximum number of hours per week: shops are closed one day a week, but not necessarily on Sundays. Banks are generally open from 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. The Belgian government has adopted the EU Working Time Directive limiting individuals to a maximum working week of 48 hours. businessculture.org     Content  Belgium  
  • 24.              |  24   Working  culture   Working practices are slowly changing with the introduction of flexitime, home working and the like. Under EU legislation, part-time and temporary workers are protected by law: new national legislation also now provides protection for home workers. In fact, Belgium is a front-runner in the application of legislation assuring equal treatment in hiring, employment and training for all persons regardless of race or origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation, disability or age. All organisations have to comply with legislation designed to protect the workforce in a wide range of areas from health and safety to ensuring employees earn a basic minimum amount of money per hour – the minimum wage. Any private-sector organisation employing an average of 50 employees has to provide for worker representation, while any company employing 100+ people over the year has to have a works council (conseil d’entreprise/ondernemingsraad). Businesses adopt their own policies, procedures and have their own cultures and values. The best way to establish what these are is to talk to the employees and ask how the organisation works. All companies have something unique to themselves, even if the product they produce or sell is the same as that of others. Health  insurance   Belgium has a compulsory healthcare system based on the social health insurance model. Healthcare is publicly funded and mainly privately provided. Most doctors, dentists, pharmacists and physiotherapists are self-employed and paid on a fee-for-service basis. Fees are negotiated at the national level between the National Committee of Sickness Funds and the provider’s representatives. Other healthcare professionals are mainly salaried. Hospitals are mostly financed through a dual structure: a fixed prospective lump sum is allocated for accommodation services, and a fee-for-service payment exists for medical and technical services. The federal government regulates and supervises all sectors of the social security system, including health insurance. However, responsibility for almost all preventive care and health promotion has been transferred to the Communities and Regions. The Communities are responsible for all health promotion and preventive services except national preventative measures: different public health policies and services are provided in the French and Flemish Communities. The National Institute for Sickness and Disability Insurance oversees the general organisation of the healthcare system, transferring funds to the not-for-profit and privately managed sickness funds. Patients have a free choice of provider, hospital and sickness fund. A comprehensive benefits package is available to nearly everyone through compulsory health insurance. Reimbursement by individual sickness funds depends on the nature of the service, the legal status of the provider and the status of the insured person. A distinction is made between those receiving standard reimbursement and those benefiting from increased reimbursement (vulnerable social groups). businessculture.org     Content  Belgium  
  • 25.              |  25   Substitute health insurance covers most self-employed people for minor risks. Sickness funds offer complementary health insurance to insured persons. Private for-profit insurance remains very small in terms of market volume, but it has also risen steadily as compulsory insurance cover has declined. businessculture.org     Content  Belgium  
  • 26.            |  26     Social  Media  Guide     Private  Individuals   According to the Internet World Stats more than 80% of the Belgium population uses the Internet and nearly all (more than 90%) use social media of some kind. The use of social media in Belgium has grown considerably within the last few years and Belgians are becoming proactive in social media endeavours. New mobile technologies like smartphones and netbooks are supporting the rapid diffusion of social media amongst the population. With more than one million profiles from Belgium, LinkedIn is the fastest growing social networking site in the country. However, with more than 4.5 million Belgian users, Facebook is the most used social network. Another heavily used social network is Netlog, which has more than one million users. The most used platforms in Belgium are: • • • • • Facebook Linkedin Netlog Twitter Myspace SMEs   The use of social media in Belgium is relatively widespread. Over 70% of Belgian businesses have a profile on at least one social media platform. However, quite often only an organisation’s communication managers have full access to social media, and most employees are blocked from it during working hours. Although a lot of companies use social media, fewer than one in three have company-guidelines or a strategy on how it might best help the business. Social media platforms can be used as valuable tools e.g. for customer acquisition or marketing campaigns. However, nearly half of Belgium’s businesses are not currently thinking of planning and implementing social media guidelines or strategies in order to fully exploit its potential. It is assumed that the younger generation (generation y) will already have and bring to the company, all the necessary skills to get the most out of social media. Thus, more than 2/3 of all companies are not currently planning to train their employees in the use of social media. Further, social media activities are only monitored by a small number of companies and the response to customer feedback is quite often neglected. If a negative comment about a company’s service/product is posted on social media, 1/3 of companies would not react to it and 20% would not answer openly.  Search  and  Social  Media  Marketing  for  International  Business   Learn how to use social media for business from one of Salford Business School’s latest business management courses. The course was jointly researched by the Passport to Trade 2.0 businessculture.org     Content  Belgium  
  • 27.            |  27     project team and prepared in collaboration with some of the leading digital marketing agencies in the UK. This Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) can help businesses and individuals to make the best use of search and social media platforms. The course is called Search and Social Media Marketing for International Business and is applicable to students looking for placements abroad as well as businesses thinking about new trade links; it comprises the following twelve topics: How to develop a personal brand online (1/12) • • Whether you are a student beginning a job search or a business person planning a new business venture, personal branding can make a difference. Learn about personal branding and why it is important for you. http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=l9LYw0mgtn4&feature=player _embedded How to use Twitter (2/12) • • Learn the basics of using Twitter to develop an individual or business profile. Remember to use hash tag #SSMMUoS to share your learning journey on this course so far! http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=9CVY3pp91Dc&feature=playe r_embedded How to use Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) (3/12) • • businessculture.org     Learn the principles of SEO to ensure that your website and any social media profiles are found by individuals searching for your name, products and services. These basic principles of SEO include keyword research, on-page optimisation and off-page optimisation. Content  Belgium  
  • 28.            |  28     http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=zw27cRcwtM0&feature=player _embedded How to use social media for international business development (4/12) • • Social media networks break down the traditional country barriers, but do you know which networks are relevant for the country you are interested in trading with? Find out in this video how to identify the relevant networks and what social media strategies you might be able to use on these networks. http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=Bx-B56AHS4c&feature= player_embedded How to use Facebook (5/12) • • Facebook is currently the largest social media network in the world and it can benefit you as a business as well as an individual. Learn how to develop a Facebook business page and see how other businesses use it and what strategies work for them. http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=UmRGn-vdcO8&feature= player_embedded How to use YouTube (6/12) • • YouTube was identified as the second largest social network amongst younger internet users as part of the Passport to Trade 2.0 project. Learn how to optimise your video content in order to reach wider audiences for your profile. http://www.youtube.com/watch? feature=player_embedded&v=G2 0OVpmTBss businessculture.org     Content  Belgium  
  • 29.            |  29     How to use LinkedIn (7/12) • • LinkedIn is one of the three main professional social networks – the others being Xing and Viadeo which are also popular in several European countries. Learn how to make the most of LinkedIn for your profile. http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=N6e_EAUQqic&feature=playe r_embedded How to use Google+ (8/12) • • • Google+ is the second largest social network as of January 2013. It is one of the fastest growing social networks and one that has the biggest impact when it comes to search engine results integration for anyone who uses Google as their main search engine. Learn how to make the most of Google+ for you and your digital profiles. http://www.youtube.com/watch? feature=player_embedded&v=8ti 3SPHkEWw How to use copywriting online (9/12) • • Copywriting is a process of translating technical specifications and product descriptions into engaging and understandable customer focused text. Learn about the basic techniques in structuring your online content here. http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=5f1hx_f2ONI&feature=player_ embedded businessculture.org     Content  Belgium  
  • 30.            |  30     How to stay legal on social media (10/12) • • Everything and anything you do and say online can be potentially viewed by anyone who has internet access. Always respect the law and familiarise yourself with new options offered to you through a creative commons licence which is popular online. http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=eQxDpiHsdk&feature=player_embedde d How to use monitoring and reporting (11/12) • • Whether you are an individual or a business spending time on social media – there has to be a return on your engagement online. How do you justify your engagement on social media to your boss? Listen to the industry experts in this area and see what you might be able to measure in respect of your on-line engagements. http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=LbEq7jsG0jg&feature=player_ embedded How to blog (12/12) • • http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=OqVjR7oI8Rs&feature=player _embedded businessculture.org     • Blogging is a process of writing text and sharing content with others. It can help your customers or friends to keep in-touch regardless of social media platforms. Think about the voice you might want to adopt and who your audience might be. Share your thoughts with us by writing a blog post about this MOOC. Tweet us the link to your post on the #SSMMUoS Twitter hash tag. Content  Belgium  
  • 31.              |  31   Passport  to  Trade  2.0  Project  Partnership   Five Universities: Lead partner: Salford Business School, University of Salford, United Kingdom Elena Vasilieva Aleksej Heinze Alex Fenton URENIO research unit at Aristole University of Thessaloniki, Greece Christina Kakderi Nitsa Papadopouloui TSE Entre Research Centre Turku School of Economics, University of Turku, Finland Satu Aaltonen Elisa Akola Institute for Information System Research University of Koblenz-Landau, Germany Verena Hausmann Susan P. Williams Petra Schubert Valahia University of Targoviste, Romania Adriana Grigorescu Leonardo Badea Three Small & Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) Spin, Italy Carmine Antonio Donato Dorella De Tommaso Technology Development & Innovation – TDI LTD Bulgaria Milanka Slavova Ivan Stoychev TIS Praha, Czech Republic Anna Klosova Richard Adekeye businessculture.org     Content  Belgium