5 Tips for Preparing for a Business Trip in Israel
Israel, and Tel Aviv in particular, attracts business people and investors like flies to a flame -- everything seems to be “starting up”, with exciting new developments in many different areas of business and science.
Venture capital investor’s flock to Israel to find the “next big thing”. Professionals from other areas like Life Sciences, medical technology and even real estate are interested in what Israel has to offer.
As a savvy business person, you might find yourself planning a business trip to Israel, soon. And during that trip, you will have some eye-opening experiences and witness a way of doing business that is very different from what you are accustomed to in other parts of the world.
How can you prepare for the trip and make sure that it goes smoothly? Check out these 5 tips:
1. Prepare for the cultural differences
When attending your first business meeting in Israel, have an open mind. You will not find a formalized structure such as you would in other countries. And very often, the meeting will not start exactly on time (a 15-minute delay is quite acceptable and even expected).
You will also notice that there is no formal dress code. Most employees come to the office in jeans and t-shirts, sandals or running shoes. For you to come to a meeting dressed “business casual” is totally acceptable – no suit or tie required.
During meetings in Israel, anybody can (and will) speak up at any time, and irrespective of their rank in the company, voice a strong opinion about the topic of discussion. They will even override other speakers to get their point across. Feel free to voice your opinion or chime in, too. Don’t wait for “your turn” to speak – it may never come unless you take it.
It is also common for people to bring their cell phones to meetings. You are likely to hear ringing or buzzing and see people speak on the phone during the meeting. Many times, too, people will talk amongst themselves and come in and go out of the meeting room while the meeting is still going on.
2. Find private working space
Between your business meetings, try to find a convenient and comfortable place to work (unless you have been allocated some office space by your hosts). This could be your hotel room in Tel Aviv or any of the many excellent coffee shops around the city. They all provide WiFi, and you can stay as long as you like, even if you only order one cup of coffee.
The Mendeli Street Hotel also offers access to plenty of business amenities, such as a large meeting room, high-speed internet and screens -- bascially, anything and everything you could possibly need to get your work done or to hold meetings.
Take advantage of your time in Tel Aviv to make new connections with others in your field. Go to Meetup events and trade shows/conferences like MIXiii BIOMED (for life sciences professionals), DLD Tel Aviv and Israel Dealmakers, just to name a few. You can also check out the Eventbrite website for a range of exciting events that you can attend.
4. Relax and enjoy
One of the most exciting and pleasurable aspects of doing business in Tel Aviv is the night life and eating out. And what kind of trip (whether it is for business or pleasure) doesn’t revolve around food?
The restaurants in Tel Aviv are world-class, and they offer so many different styles and cuisines. Try an exceptionally high-standard restaurant that offers unique local fare, such as the Mashya Restaurant in the heart of Tel Aviv. Many times, your Israeli hosts will even invite you out for a business dinner, and they may take you out for drinks in Tel Aviv afterwards.
5. Getting around Tel Aviv and Israel
This is actually easier than it might seem. To get a taxi, the best thing to do is to use the Gett app (which, by the way, is an Israeli company). It lets you easily order and pay for a taxi directly from inside the app on your mobile device.
If you need to travel beyond Tel Aviv, to say, Haifa or Hertzliya, the Israel Railway services are very comfortable, fast and generally punctual. Plus, it beats sitting in traffic along the main highways into and out of the cities.
If, however, you plan on driving in Israel, know that the road system is extremely good. But Israeli drivers are somewhat more aggressive than you are probably used to. Just relax and let them pass you (even on the right) if they want to. To easily navigate, it’s recommended that you download the Waze GPS app, (another Israeli invention) which everybody in Israel uses. Waze is available in dozens of different languages, and it will guide you safely and accurately to your destination.
With the investment, expansion and partnership opportunities available, it’s no wonder you’re planning a business trip to Tel Aviv. Prepare accordingly by following these 5 tips, above, and it will surely be a successful and fruitful visit.
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