Quick Guide to Business Etiquette for International Travel



“No matter who you are or what you do, your manners will have a direct impact on your professional and social success”


Germans are hard-working and business events tend to be very structured and serious engagements. They are passionate about vehicles. Usually, compensation packages include a car, and the type of car is equal to how much one earns. Germans may seem to speak in a rude, however, it is just the way they speak.


Punctuality in Austria, as in Germany, is renowned throughout the world.  Time is managed carefully, and calendars, schedules and agendas are strictly respected. Austrians sometimes give gifts to close business colleagues at holiday-times or to celebrate the completion of an important and successful business deal, however, gifts are usually not expected. Businessmen wear dark colored and conservative business suits; solid, conservative ties, and white shirts. Such a form of dress is expected even during warm time of the year.


Never start a conversation in English, try to speak French, even if your language knowledge is limited to a few words – this will increase your chances of a positive business meeting. French organizations are very hierarchical and communications across these levels can take much time. If you need to speak to the company’s authority, speak to them directly. Try not to call or meet anyone during their lunch break - from 12 till 2pm.


The UK

British people value time. If you have a meeting at two o’clock, your counterparts will arrive on time or even before. Sometimes you may feel that British lives are very rushed. Attending social events is different - guests may be expected to arrive about fifteen minutes after the exact time. Regarding business dress code, classical conservative style is the norm for both men and women in British culture and dark colors such as black, dark blue and charcoal grey are the major ones. Bribery and corruption are taken very seriously in the United Kingdom and the chances of a bribe being accepted are very low.


Among senior directors, who like to demonstrate their power by keeping visitors waiting, punctuality is not important. For a meeting of employees, punctuality should be expected: meetings will start on time but will continue until all points are covered. When you are considered a “guest”, it is very common to combine meetings with food and drinks. Russians love to demonstrate their generosity. In communication, Russians tend to be direct and do not avoid confrontation. They can be extremely emotional at some points.


Many business meetings take place around a large, round table. It's inappropriate to push for a final decision during the first meeting, as decisions are not made in the meeting themselves. Usually, decisions are made after a meeting ends, once the entire group has a chance to collectively make a decision. The exchange of business cards is a very formal procedure. (This is especially true in Japan, but also works the same way in China). Business cards should be presented with both hands and accompanied by a head nod.


Business associates typically greet each other with a handshake. Punctuality is expected, as |time is money”.
While building personal relationships with business associates is considered important, small talk is kept at a minimum during designated meeting times -- unless the meeting is held over drinks or a meal. American business dress code is slightly different from European, as many companies practice “casual Fridays”.

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