“Onewho does not know how to smile should not be engaged in trade,” says theChinese proverb. Each country has its own national identity. Every nation hasits own mentality, traditions and customs, rules of conduct and even its ownbusiness etiquette. In order, not to get into a mess when working with foreigncolleagues and partners, you need to pay attention to a lot of small things andnuances. What is accepted here can be unacceptable in another country.
Theculture of another country is not only a barrier that has to be overcome by allvisitors, but also a shield protecting the uniqueness of each people. Igathered the most interesting and mandatory rules of business etiquette inEuropean countries. United KingdomTheUnited Kingdom is one of the world’s economic and financial centers. Britishfinanciers and businessmen are real perfectionists, they pay attention to everydetail in their work and demand the same from their colleagues, includingforeign ones. Even when writing letters, you must be extremely careful andattentive to all formalities. Punctuality is almost the main quality that aperson who has business in the UK should have.
Delay is completelyunacceptable, and the business meeting itself is usually appointed well inadvance, in a few days. British humor is one of the national symbols, it ispresent even in a business environment. If you do not understand the joke orironic remark of the interlocutor, then do not focus on this attention, youneed to smile and continue the conversation. Do not forget that Britain is amultinational country, and calling a Scot or an Irish an Englishman is adangerous step. Representatives of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland,sometimes even the word “british” touches, so it must be expressedextremely correctly and do not affect the topic of nations within the UnitedKingdom. After the end of the working day, it is not accepted to discuss workmatters, even being with a colleague at a dinner in a restaurant or at a familydinner at his house. Talking about work after work is a bad form. British, inaddition, to professionalism in all areas, the British are known for theirconservatism, which is also reflected in the rules of the dress code: you donot need to come to jeans and a T-shirt to meet with partners in the office,and in a sports suit for a dinner party.
Residentsof the UK – people are restrained and balanced. When talking, avoid unnecessaryemotions and expressive statements. Even the neutral expression “I’m quitepleased” can be perceived as an extremely enthusiastic reaction.GermanyThecalculating and thrifty Germans are known as the most pedantic and hardworkingspecialists. Businessmen from Germany are very reserved and always hold onformally, even if long-standing friendships have developed between partners: itis customary to refer to the surname and the “you”. If thecommunication is in English, then you can also apply by name.Notonly working, but even personal life, they are painted not by the hour, but bythe minute, so any delay is perceived as an insult.
If the circumstances havedeveloped so that the delay is unavoidable, it is better to call your Germancolleague as soon as possible and explain everything by apologizing. Businessin Germany is preferred to be carried out and planned in advance andunhurriedly. The haste of every German is suspicious. Therefore, with a jointproject or transaction, you should not rush, but slowly and thoughtfully work throughall the details.Lunchin Germany is an important necessity. Many workers, students and evenschoolchildren go home or at a cafe in the middle of the day to have lunch.Therefore, most business meetings are often held at lunch, and dinner, in turn,is taken with the family.
Private life and work are clearly divided: inGermany, business partners are rarely invited to a family dinner, as is often thecase in the UK or France. However, if the invitation is received, it isnecessary to bring a small gift to the house: a bottle of expensive wine or abox of chocolates.Donot be offended if a German colleague does not treat anyone with his breakfastbrought from home, or closes his office right in front of his nose: it is notcustomary to violate personal space and share things in Germany.
Whenreferring to a person it is important to mention his academic degrees, titlesand so on. Personal achievements here have a lot of weight and the fact that apartner at work knows about this, will show him from the very best side.Andof course, in conversations that do not involve work, the themes of World WarII should be avoided. For the Germans, this issue is extremely painful.FranceTheFrench are famous for their sense of tact and style, they are real neat ateverything, including in work, and in business. Even the word “etiquette”comes from French. Failure to follow simple rules of conduct at the table orduring communication causes a negative reaction. And the appearance of abusiness partner and colleagues should be flawless, so before a businessmeeting, you should carefully choose a wardrobe.
Punctuality in France is attentive, but not as strictly asin Germany or in the UK. Allowed to be late for 10-15 minutes, but no more.FrenchMeetings are almost always appointed at breakfast, lunch or dinner: no wonderFrance is considered a gourmet country. An important detail: working mattersare discussed only after the drinks are served.
Atthe first meeting with a French colleague, you must give him your businesscard. On it, whenever possible, it is necessary to indicate all personalachievements: the French respectfully treat a person with ranks and titles.TheFrench are immensely proud of their culture and their language, so they preferto speak even foreigners in French. If the interlocutor does not know thelanguage, he should learn at least a couple of phrases, turn to a colleague inFrench and ask permission to switch to English.
This formality is of greatimportance.Frenchbusinessmen are very scrupulous. Therefore, at a meeting or a deal you need toprepare for the fact that the partner will ask a lot of questions and begin tofigure out even the most minor details.Abig plus for a foreigner will be the knowledge of French culture. If thepartner in conversation on an abstract topic can talk about Matisse, Hugo orDebussy, the French colleague will be flattered, because the art of France is asubject of national pride.ItalyItalianbusinessmen, contrary to the popular opinion of the nation, are extremely primand formal.Ata meeting, everyone address to each other by a surname and shake hands.Handshakes are exchanged even with women.
Likethe French, Italians are very sensitive to their language, so even the firstofficial letter with a proposal for partnership is better to write in Italian.Italy- the birthplace of fashion. Therefore, a good brand suit or dress, watches,ornaments and even an expensive fountain pen can arrange an Italian colleaguefor a foreigner. At the same time, there are no strict restrictions on thecolor scheme in the dress code, as in the same UK: a suit for meeting withItalian partners can be in light colors, and a dress – in a bright shade.Italiansthe business meeting, which is usually held at dinner, begins with a secularconversation.
The topics that Italians like to discuss: art, architecture,football, family and travel. Punctuality does not matter much, so a meeting canbe scheduled even in a few hours, and can continue until late at night. TheItalians are unhurried and often late.
IrelandDespiteits proximity to the UK, Ireland has its own business etiquette, opposite toits neighbors.Tooofficial clothes are not welcome here, so you can dress for a meeting moreinformally: dark jeans, a shirt or polo, but there must be a jacket.Businessmeetings and negotiations are often appointed in bars, so do not be surprisedif an Irish business partner is waiting for his foreign colleague with a beermug behind the bar.Irishare not too obligatory: they are often late and cancel appointments.
But toexpress displeasure in this regard is a bad tone.Finland, Norway, SwedenTherules of business etiquette in the northern countries of Europe are almost thesame.Finns,Norwegians and Swedes are reserved and not too emotional. They never talk aboutfamily and personal life. But at the same time in communication often addressedby name and by “you”. Northerners love simplicity and appreciatestraightforwardness.
They are reliable, their words never disagree withactions. Scandinavians do not tolerate boasting and flattery.ScandinaviaMost of business meetings are appointed in the sauna. This is a nationalScandinavian tradition. After the sauna meeting is moved to a restaurant orcafe.Ifthe partner invites a foreign colleague for a family dinner, you mustnecessarily present a bottle of wine and a bouquet of flowers for the wife ofthe owner of the house.SpainSpaniardsare energetic, hardworking, initiative and resolute.
Business in Spain isconducted confidently and quickly. The same quality of Spanish businessmenappreciate their foreign partners.Spanishcolleagues show interest not only in their work and position, but also in theidentity of their partners.
Therefore, at a business meeting, you need to beprepared for personal inquiries.Spaniardsare not at all punctual, often late and do not always keep promises. Whenconcluding deals and contracts, one must be as persistent as possible andnegotiate all the details and obligations of the parties.Donot forget about the traditional Spanish siesta, especially in relation tosmall cities: from 14 to 16 hours, meetings are usually not appointed, thistime is for recreation.
With partners the Spaniards meet only during thedinner, which starts rather late, around 21.00.Inclothing, the Spaniards are democratic and do not impose strict requirements onforeign colleagues.
When in Rome do as theromans doEachcountry and its culture are unique. When dealing with foreigners, one must atleast be aware of cultural and linguistic barriers and differences and treatwith respect to any nation and country. Compliance with even the elementaryrules of etiquette will preserve international partnerships and work all overthe world without restrictions.