International Business Etiquette Tips

When doing business internationally, you shouldn’t concentrate on simply selling your products and services. To be successful, you need to cultivate relationships with the people that you are working with. To help you out, here are some of the areas you should pay attention to when interacting with people internationally:

Gender roles

You will be interacting with people from different sectors that have different beliefs. To avoid uncomfortable situations, take your time to understand the appropriate gender etiquette. In most cases, the gender roles are about personal boundaries and physical contact with men and women.

If doing business in the Arab countries, you should note that Arab women aren’t allowed to shake hands with men. If you are a woman and traveling to these countries, be cautious of this as it can be uncomfortable when you hand out your hand and the men don’t shake your hand.

Time

While time is crucial globally, different countries have different tolerance levels. In china and japan, punctuality is crucial, and if you are late for even a minute, the people you are having the meeting with will walk out. In India, your companions won’t be overly offended if you are a little late, but you shouldn’t push it.

If doing business in England, the business professionals will require you to show up on time or even slightly earlier. In France, punctuality is of little importance, and the professionals will consider you “on time” even if you are ten minutes late.

Dress code

This is crucial as it determines how people see you. Just like time, the business attire preference varies from one place to another. In china and japan, business attire is formal. You should wear a suit and tie to all professional meetings. In the US, the business environment is less formal; therefore, you can wear smart casual and be considered okay. In France, you need to be formal, well-tailored, and fashionable. It’s France you are in.

Personal space

Personal space varies from one gender to another and also on how well you know each other. In china, the formal way of going about it is shaking hands. You shouldn’t great someone with a kiss or hug. In France, men will sometimes greet women with a kiss, but many women will stick out their hands if they prefer a handshake. In England, personal touches such as kissing and hugging are reserved for close friends and family; therefore, allow a certain amount of personal space.

Business gifts

Handing out gifts varies from one culture to another. In most Asian countries, gifts are tolerated and highly encouraged. In fact, the business associates will expect you to bring a gift. When you are presenting the gift, always wrap it. Remember that the value of the gift is less important than the thoughts you put into it.

While gifts are encouraged in Asian countries, the culture is highly flowed upon in western countries. Most of these countries consider a gift as a bribe.

Conclusion

These are the international business etiquette tips you should consider when doing business internationally. Always go through them before visiting a country you aren’t familiar with.

Guide to Business Travel Etiquette – United Kingdom

About the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom is located in Western Europe, northwest of France between the North Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea. It is not very large, about the size of Oregon and is home to over 60 million people.

The UK is made up of four distinct regions – England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, making it very culturally and ethnically diverse. It may seem that everyone in the UK could be called English, but many people in the UK, especially those in Wales and Scotland may be offended by this. The term “English” refers to natives of England and “British” to citizens of Great Britain.

Language

The majority of people in the UK speak English, but many areas have strong local accents and even dialects which may be difficult to understand. In Wales, Welsh is the language of choice – a Celtic language similar to Gaelic. Welsh is also spoken in some areas of Scotland.

Business Dress

Business dress in the UK is very conservative – dark colors, such as black, navy blue and charcoal are very popular as are heavier fabrics such as wool.

Tips for Men

o Avoid dress shirts with pockets and if they do have pockets, they should be kept empty. The only exception to this is a handkerchief.

o Ties with stripes should not be worn as the pattern may “belong” to a club, military regiment or school of which you are not a member.

o Wear shoes that lace, not those that slip on such as loafers.

Tips for Women

Business dress for women in the UK is not as limited as men’s but a conservative appearance is still important.

Business Hours

Most offices in the UK are open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. However, most employees work longer hours as they prefer to complete their work at the office instead of bringing it home.

Government offices are open from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm and are closed for lunch from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm.

The best time of day to make an appointment is in the mid-morning and mid-afternoon. Breakfast and lunch meetings tend to be rare – outside of major cities.

Holidays

The UK has only eight national holidays a year, the lowest number in Europe. Most families with children will take annual vacations in July or August and the majority of businesses are closed between Christmas and New Years.

Conversations and Behavior

Many people in the UK are private and reserved – finding it difficult to engage in small talk with strangers. Beginning a meeting with a handshake is customary and a formal greeting is viewed as a sign of respect.

The English have very good manners and they view Americans as too casual, especially in speech. Be sure to speak clearly, in complete sentences and keep your speech at an even tone. Avoid animated conversations and a lot of hand gestures.