A programme of free masterclasses is being launched to help West Midlands companies become more culturally savvy when working to win business overseas.

Organised by the Department for International Trade (DIT) West Midlands, the series comprises seven half-day masterclasses, all of which provide essential cultural tips when conducting business in different markets.

All masterclasses will be held in Birmingham city centre, with the first one taking place on Tuesday, March 20, when DIT will focus on language and culture of doing business in Switzerland. Future classes in 2018 will focus on: Scandinavia, France, the Benelux countries, Germany and Austria, USA and Canada and China.

Led by Gerti Willis, DIT West Midlands’ communication and culture adviser, each masterclass will also cover: different business and economic environments; business cultures: religion, language, values and customs; business communication and negotiation styles; overcoming common trade barriers; and e-commerce strategy.

“Being more culturally savvy is important for any company that is already trading internationally, that wants to penetrate new markets or is planning to export for the first time,” she said.

“Doing business with a new market isn’t just about getting your goods and services out there, it’s about building relationships and understanding the culture and etiquette that is expected. This programme will help businesses to become more successful and effective when communicating across cultures.”

Businesses can sign up for as many of the free masterclasses to suit their needs. All sessions will be held at KPMG, at One Snowhill, Snowhill Queensway, Birmingham.