Navigating Your Business Trip in Nigeria: 7 Mistakes to Avoid

flights to Lagos businessman-with-phone standing airport terminal

Embarking on a business trip to Nigeria offers exciting opportunities for professional growth, cultural exchange, and networking. However, it also presents unique challenges that require careful planning and cultural awareness. In this article, we’ll explore seven common mistakes to avoid during your business trip to Nigeria. Whether you’re taking flights to Lagos or visiting other cities, these insights will help you navigate the Nigerian business landscape successfully and leave a positive impression on your hosts.


Inadequate Preparation and Research

Arriving in Nigeria without thorough research can hinder your trip’s success. Learn about local customs, business etiquette, and cultural norms specific to the region you’ll be visiting. Understanding greetings, appropriate dress codes, and gift-giving practices is crucial. Research the current political and economic climate to engage in informed conversations with your Nigerian counterparts. Before taking your flights to Lagos, explore Nigeria’s rich history, diverse ethnic groups, and cultural practices. Being knowledgeable about the background of the city and its people will help you connect more effectively during your business interactions.


Neglecting Visa and Documentation

Ensure you have the necessary travel documents, including a valid visa, before booking flights to Lagos or any other Nigerian city. The visa application process can be time-consuming, so plan well in advance. Carry printed copies of essential documents like your invitation letter, hotel reservations, and contact information to avoid any inconveniences. Furthermore, have digital copies of these documents accessible on your devices. In case of any physical loss or emergency, you’ll have backup information readily available, ensuring a smooth trip.


Underestimating Transportation Challenges

Traffic congestion is common in Nigerian cities, including Lagos. Allocate extra time for transportation to meetings and appointments. Utilize navigation apps to gauge travel times accurately. Arriving late due to traffic can reflect poorly on your professionalism and impact your schedule. Consider using transportation services provided by your accommodation or local counterparts. They often have insights into traffic patterns and can help you plan your itinerary more effectively, avoiding unnecessary delays.


Overlooking Networking Opportunities

Relationship-building is fundamental in Nigerian business culture. Attend networking events, conferences, and industry gatherings to establish connections. Engage in conversations that go beyond business discussions, showing genuine interest in your counterparts. Building strong relationships will contribute to a more fruitful trip. Don’t limit your networking to formal events only. Engage with locals during your leisure time, whether it’s enjoying local cuisine or exploring cultural attractions. These casual interactions can lead to meaningful connections and insights.


Ignoring Local Business Etiquette

Respect local business customs and etiquette. Address individuals using their appropriate titles and last names, showing courtesy. Be punctual for meetings, even though it’s common for hosts to arrive slightly late. Allow your Nigerian counterparts to set the pace and tone of discussions during meetings. Prioritize building rapport before diving into business matters. Take time to exchange pleasantries and inquire about your host’s well-being. This will create a comfortable atmosphere and demonstrate your respect for the local customs.


Failing to Adapt Communication Styles

Effective communication in Nigeria requires attentiveness to nonverbal cues and contextual information. Listen actively and ask open-ended questions to encourage meaningful conversations. Avoid interrupting, and be patient during negotiations, which might take longer than anticipated. Practice active listening by summarizing what you’ve understood during conversations. This not only demonstrates your attentiveness but also provides an opportunity to clarify any potential misunderstandings.


Disregarding Safety and Health Precautions

Prioritize safety and health during your trip. Research the safety of the areas you’ll be visiting and opt for reputable accommodations. Adhere to local customs, dress modestly, and respect religious practices. Concerning health, be cautious about food and water choices to prevent potential digestive issues. Stay informed about any health advisories or local regulations related to safety. Be open to local dietary recommendations, as your hosts can provide insights into the best food options that suit your preferences and health requirements.



Your business trip to Nigeria, whether it involves flights to Lagos or other destinations, offers a chance to forge professional connections and broaden your cultural horizons. By sidestepping these seven common mistakes, you’ll ensure a more productive and culturally sensitive experience. Approach your trip with an open mind, willingness to adapt, and a respectful attitude toward local customs. In doing so, you’ll make a positive impact on your Nigerian counterparts, leaving a lasting impression of professionalism and international collaboration.