Personal relationships are important in the Australian business world. Connections are valued. An introduction by an established representative may be helpful in establishing a relationship with an Australian firm.
Australians take punctuality seriously. If possible, arrive fifteen minutes early for a business meeting.
Australians will quickly get down to business. Communications will be direct, good-humored and to the point.
Australian businesspeople tend to be pragmatic, efficient and profit-oriented. They appreciate straight-forward, open presentations.
Australians dislike one-upmanship. Don’t overplay qualifications, rank or titles.
Negotiations proceed quickly. Bargaining is not customary. Proposals should be presented with acceptable terms. Leave some allowance for some give and take.
Australians will often negotiate major issues without over-emphasis on details. However, contracts are generally detailed and firm.
Before scheduling appointments, provide letters of introduction from an intermediary, another business associate or client, or a mutual friend. Send a follow-up letter a month later requesting an appointment. You may have to attend a few pre-business functions before you finally meet the decision makers.
Give your business card to the receptionist/secretary on arrival and exchange cards with associates on the first meeting. Include all titles and qualifications on your business card.
Meetings are formal and punctuality is of the utmost importance.
Shake hands when arriving and leaving. It’s considered polite to shake hands with the women before the men. The most senior person will extend his/her hand first. Be sure to shake everyone’s hands. It’s not uncommon for a businessman to kiss a visiting businesswoman’s hand as a greeting.
If you’re the guest, wait for your host to introduce you, don’t do it yourself. Address business associates by their title (eg. Dr, Professor) and surname. Mr is ‘Herr’ , and Ms is ‘Frau’ in German. First names should be used only if you know the person well or have been instructed to call them by their first name.
If business entertaining is taking place out of business hours it is appropriate to be accompanied by your spouse. If you are invited to lunch or dinner after a meeting it’s bad manners to offer to pay the bill. Instead, offer to reciprocate at your next meeting.
Austrian business society is conservative: a dark-coloured suit and a tie for men, and sober suit or dress for women is appropriate for business meetings and meals. Even if an event is ‘informal’ dress well as you’ll be judged on your appearance.
Punctuality is demanded for business meetings and social occasions. If a conflict arises, you are expected to let your Canadian counterpart know immediately. That said, Canadians are not as obsessed with time as Americans.
Business cards are commonly exchanged in Canada.
For Quebec, print your business cards in English or French, including your academic degree(s) and/or title. A double-sided business card (one side in English, one side in French) is best.
Canadians get down to business quickly. Meetings are well-organized, and extraneous discussion is kept to a minimum. A premium is placed on time.
Business communication is quite direct in Canada, but more reserved than in the United States. Letters and telephone calls should be direct and succinct. Pleasantries are dispensed with very quickly.
Business culture varies somewhat throughout Canada, depending on the region.
Although the relationship between Canada and the United States is generally quite good, some Canadians may be wary about the intentions of American businesses and put off by what they perceive as American arrogance. Some Canadians may dislike the American "hard sell" approach.
The Chinese are practical in business and realize they need Western investment, but dislike dependency on foreigners. They are suspicious and fearful of being cheated or pushed around by foreigners, who are perceived as culturally and economically corrupt. It is very difficult to break through the "them vs. us" philosophy (foreign partner vs. Chinese). In personal relationships, the Chinese will offer friendship and warm hospitality without conflict, but in business they are astute negotiators.
Punctuality is important for foreign businesspeople. Being late is rude. Meetings always begin on time.
Business cards are exchanged upon meeting. Business cards should be printed in English on one side and Chinese on the other. Make sure the Chinese side uses "simplified" characters and not "classical" characters, which are used in Taiwan and Hong Kong.
English is not spoken in business meetings, although some Chinese may understand English without making it known. Hire an interpreter or ask for one to be provided.
Be prepared for long meetings and lengthy negotiations (often ten days straight) with many delays.
The Chinese will enter a meeting with the highest-ranking person entering first. They will assume the first member of your group to enter the room is the leader of your delegation. The senior Chinese person welcomes everyone. The foreign leader introduces his/her team, and each member distributes his/her card. The leader invites the Chinese to do the same.
Seating is very important at a meeting. The host sits to the left of the most important guest. There may be periods of silence at a business meeting; do not interrupt these.
A contract is considered a draft subject to change. Chinese may agree on a deal and then change their minds. A signed contract is not binding and does not mean negotiations will end.
Observing seniority and rank are extremely important in business.
The status of the people who make the initial contact with the Chinese is very important. Don't insult the Chinese by sending someone with a low rank.
Chinese negotiators may try to make foreign negotiators feel guilty about setbacks; they may then manipulate this sense of guilt to achieve certain concessions.
Two Chinese negotiating tricks designed to make you agree to concessions are staged temper tantrums and a feigned sense of urgency.
If the Chinese side no longer wishes to pursue the deal, they may not tell you. To save their own face, they may become increasingly inflexible and hard-nosed, forcing you to break off negotiations. In this way, they may avoid blame for the failure.
Professionalism is highly valued in business and is the key to acceptance of outsiders.
France enjoys a skilled, well-educated labor force. Hard work is admired, but workaholism is not.
Be on time. The French appreciate punctuality.
Give business cards to the receptionist or secretary upon arrival to an office and to each person you meet subsequently. Print cards in English or French. Include academic degree and/or title.
Many French speak and understand English, but prefer not to use it. An interpreter will probably not be necessary, but check ahead of time. Use French only for greetings, toasts and occasional phrases unless your French is perfect.
Government plays a major role in business. Find a local representative (banker, lawyer or agent) to help you through regulatory obstacles.
Business people tend to be formal and conservative. Business relationships are proper, orderly and professional.
Don't discuss personal life with business people. Personal lives are kept separate from business relationships.
The French get down to business quickly, but make decisions slowly after much deliberation.
Organizations are highly centralized with a powerful chief executive. Bosses are often dictatorial and authoritative
French are leaders in the area of economic planning. Plans are far-reaching and detailed.
Entering a room and seating is done by rank.
Meetings follow an established format with a detailed agenda.
The French dislike disagreeing and debating in a public forum, but enjoy a controlled debate, whereby an informed rebuttal is appreciated.
The purpose of meetings is to brief/coordinate and clarify issues. State your intentions directly and openly.
Presentations should be well prepared, comprehensive, clear, well-written, informative and presented in a formal, rational, professional manner -- appealing always to the intellect.
The French dislike the hard sell approach.
Things actually get done through a network of personal relationships and alliances.
Avoid planning business meetings during August or two weeks before and after Christmas and Easter period
Do not call a French businessperson at home unless it is an emergency.
Germans take punctuality for business meetings and social occasions seriously. Tardiness is viewed as thoughtless and rude. Call with an explanation if you are delayed.
Send company profiles, personal profiles, etc., to German colleagues before your visit to establish credibility.
Contacts are vital to a business success. Use a bank, German representative or the Industrie und Handelskammer (Chamber of Industry and Commerce) when possible.
Rank is very important in business. Never set up a meeting for a lower ranked company employee to meet with a higher ranked person.
The primary purpose of a first meeting is to get to know one another and to evaluate the person, to gain trust, and the check chemistry.
Meetings are often formal and scheduled weeks in advance.
Germans generally discuss business after a few minutes of general discussion.
Arrive at meetings well prepared. Avoid hard-sell tactics or surprise.
Germans take business very seriously. Levity is not common in the workplace.
Business cards in English are acceptable.
Germans are competitive, ambitious and hard bargainers.
Germans value their privacy. They tend to keep their office doors closed. Always knock on doors before entering.
Objective criticism isn't given or received easily. Compliments are seldom given for work product.
Strict vertical hierarchy exists. Power is held by a small number of people at the top. Deference is given to authority. Subordinates rarely contradict or criticize the boss publicly.
Organization is logical, methodical and compartmentalized with procedures and routines done "by the book."
Decision making is slow with thorough analysis of all facts.
Germans are not comfortable handling the unexpected. Plans are cautious with fallback positions, contingency plans, and comprehensive action steps -- carried out to the letter.
Germans produce massive written communications to elaborate on and confirm discussions.
Written or spoken presentations should be specific, factual, technical and realistic.
Reports, briefings and presentations should be backed up by facts, figures, tables and charts.
Germans have an aversion to divergent opinions, but will negotiate and debate an issue fervently.
Remain silent if the floor has not been given to you or if you are not prepared to make an informed contribution.
Decisions are often debated informally and are generally made before meetings with compliance rather than consensus expected in the meeting.
Always deliver information, products, proposals, etc., to clients on time.
Do not call a German at home unless it is an emergency.
Punctuality is not particularly important in Greece, but foreigners are expected to be on time for business meetings, even though his/her Greek counterpart may be late.
Greeks want to get to know you before they will do business with you. Business meetings will usually begin with general conversation before business is discussed.
Trust is a major ingredient for acceptance and is much more important than qualifications, expertise or performance. Greeks and may be slow to trust foreigners.
Greeks distrust written communications. Put everything down on paper and get the appropriate signatures. Letters/memos are often stiff and formal.
Avoid telephoning unless it is impossible to meet. Personal, face-to-face contact in all matters is vital to communications.
There is one boss, and he/she takes complete responsibility. The boss is the owner or the owner's most trusted employee.
Meetings are often forums for expressing personal opinions (usually contrary) or to inform the group about what is taking place; they seldom have a formal agenda.
Consensus is important and meetings may last or be reconvened until unanimity is reached.
The official work day starts early, ends at lunch and may start again at 5:00 p.m.
Many Hong Kong businesspeople have been educated in Western schools and are well-heeled, well-traveled and possess an international perspective. The business climate in Hong Kong is "wide open," with a free market and limited government involvement. Hong Kong business activities are competitive, honest and quick. Making money is the main goal. The style of business is similar to that of the United States.
Punctuality is expected and respected; be on time for all appointments. Allow "courtesy time" (30 minutes) if someone is late for an appointment with you.
Tea is served at meetings. Do not drink until your host takes the first sip. A host leaving tea untouched signals the end of the meeting.
Bring business cards printed in English on one side and Chinese on the other side. Make sure that the Chinese side uses "classical" characters, the written form of Chinese used in Hong Kong, and not "simplified" characters, which are used in the People's Republic of China. Upon introduction, present your business card with both hands and with the Chinese side up.
Be sure to look at a business card upon receiving it. Do not write on a business card in front of the person who gave it to you.
Lawyers are not included in negotiations until contracts are drawn up and signed.
Negotiations may be slow and detailed, but very efficient. Send senior people with technical and commercial expertise prepared to function as a team and make decisions on the spot. Business deals may be sealed with a handshake alone. Be prepared to compromise.
Banking contacts are very important. Use a bank to set up your meetings.
Take time to build relationships. It may take several meetings to accomplish goals. Do business face to face. Courtesy calls and personal selling are vital to success.
"Yes" may not mean agreement; it often means "I hear you." "No" is generally not said. Instead, you may hear "I will have to wait," or "This may be very difficult."
Do not attempt to open an office in Hong Kong without hiring or consulting a "geomancer"/"feng shui" professional. A feng shui professional advises on facility, moving date, opening date, entrance, etc. and positions office furniture to be in harmony with cosmic forces. Do not ignore this custom. Many Chinese will not do business without feng shui approval for fear of trouble from spirits. Ask a Hong Kong businessperson for the name and number of a reliable feng shui professional.
Make appointments for business meetings a month before arrival.
Business cards are exchanged and Indians are very conscious of the protocol. Always present business cards when introduced. English is appropriate for business cards.
Decisions are strongly influenced from the top. Usually one person makes all major decisions. Attempt to deal with the highest-level person available.
It is considered rude to plunge into business discussions immediately. Ask about your counterpart’s family, interests, hobbies, etc. before beginning business discussions.
Business is slow and difficult in India. Be polite, but persistent. Do not get angry if you are told something "can't be done." Instead, restate your request firmly but with a smile. Plan on several visits before you reach an agreement.
You may be offered a sugary, milky tea, coffee or a soft drink. Don’t refuse. Note that your glass or cup may be refilled as soon as it is emptied.
Indian counterparts may not show up for scheduled meetings. Be prepared to reschedule.
Punctuality is a must in all business and social meetings.
Any degree of knowledge of Japanese culture is greatly appreciated.
Japanese may exchange business cards even before they shake hands or bow. Be certain your business card clearly states your rank. This will determine who your negotiating counterpart should be.
Bear in mind that initial negotiations begin with middle managers. Do not attempt to go over their heads to senior management.
It is acceptable to use a Japanese company interpreter in the first meeting. Once negotiations begin, hire your own interpreter.
Both business and personal relationships are hierarchical. Older people have higher status than younger, men higher than women and senior executives higher than junior executives.
It is very important to send a manager of the same rank to meet with a Japanese colleague. Title is very important.
Work is always undertaken as a group. The workgroup is strongly united with no competition; all succeed or all fail. Decision-making is by consensus. Everyone on the work team must be consulted before making decisions. This is a very slow process.
The first meeting may focus on establishing an atmosphere of friendliness, harmony and trust. Business meetings are conducted formally, so leave your humor behind. Always allow ten minutes of polite conversation before beginning business meetings.
It takes several meetings to develop a contract. When the time comes, be content to close a deal with a handshake. Leave the signing of the written contract to later meetings.
Etiquette and harmony are very important. "Saving face" is a key concept. Japanese are anxious to avoid unpleasantness and confrontation. Try to avoid saying "no." Instead, say, "This could be very difficult," allowing colleagues to save face.
Proper introduction to business contacts is a must. The introducer becomes a guarantor for the person being introduced.
Do not bring a lawyer. It is important is to build business relationships based on trust. The Japanese do not like complicated legal documents. Write contracts that cover essential points.
The Dutch take punctuality for business meetings very seriously and expect that you will do likewise; call with an explanation if you are delayed.
Lateness, missed appointments, postponements, changing the time of an appointment or a late delivery deteriorates trust and can ruin relationships.
Exchange business cards during or after conversation. No set ritual exists. Business cards in English are acceptable.
The Dutch are extremely adept at dealing with foreigners. They are the most experienced and most successful traders in Europe.
The Dutch tend to get right down to business. Business negotiations proceed at a rapid pace.
Presentations should be practical, factual and never sloppy.
An individual's cooperation and trust are valued over performance. One-upmanship is frowned upon.
The Dutch tend to be direct, giving straight "yes" and "no" answers.
The Dutch are conservative and forceful and can be stubborn and tough negotiators. They are willing to innovate or experiment, but with minimal risk.
Companies are frugal and careful with money. Business is profit-oriented with the bottom line being very important. However, the Dutch are not obsessed with numbers.
Strategy is cautious and pragmatic, usually involving step-by-step plans. Preparations are made to improvise the plan, if needed. Strategy is clear and communicated to all levels.
In many companies the decision-making process is slow and ponderous, involving wide consultation. Consensus is vital. The Dutch will keep talking until all parties agree.
Once decisions are made, implementation is fast and efficient.
In the Netherlands, commitments are taken seriously and are honored. Do not promise anything or make an offer you are not planning to deliver on.
Russians appreciate punctuality. Business meetings generally begin on time.
Under Communism there were no incentives for bureaucrats to perform well or to even be pleasant toward clients; this meant that the usual answer to any question was "No." This practice is still found in Russian society today, but "No" is usually not the final word on an issue. One has to bargain and be persistent to get what he or she wants.
Business cards are handed out liberally in Russia and are always exchanged at business meetings. The ceremony of presenting and receiving business cards is important. Don't treat it lightly.
Representatives of the Russian company or government body are usually seated on one side of a table at meetings with guests on the other side.
Your company should be represented by a specialized team of experts. Presentations should be thoroughly prepared, detailed, factual and short on "salesmanship."
Russians usually negotiate technical issues very competently, directly and clearly but, being newcomers to capitalism, often do not fully understand Western business practices and objectives. You may have to explain the reasoning behind some of your demands.
Russians find it difficult to admit mistakes, especially publicly. They also find it difficult to risk offending someone by making requests or assertions.
Trying to do business in Russia over the telephone is generally ineffective. The Russian telecommunications system is inadequate, but improving quickly. The telex is widely used.
Personal relationships play a crucial role in Russian business.
Business negotiations in Russia are lengthy and may test your patience. Plan to be in for the long haul.
No agreement is final until a contract has been signed.
Westerners are expected to be punctual for social occasions and business meetings. Call if you are delayed. Tardiness is viewed as a sign of disrespect.
Business cards are exchanged upon being introduced. Exchange business cards with both hands after you are introduced.
The government finances many of the large corporations in Singapore. This bureaucratic system is known for its high efficiency and corruption-free business style. Western-style management is evident in large firms managed by Singaporeans.
Personal contacts are important in business. It takes several years to develop business relationships. Take time to know people before discussing business.
Singaporeans tend to get right down to business in meetings. Singaporeans are fast-paced and can make decisions quickly.
You are expected to deliver reports, correspondence, packages, etc. when promised.
Always talk straight and get right to the point with Singaporeans. You can be direct when dealing with issues of money.
The Swiss take punctuality for business and social meetings very seriously and expect that you will do likewise. Call with an explanation if you will be delayed.
Business cards in English are acceptable. Hand your business card to the receptionist upon arrival for a meeting. Give a card to each person you meet subsequently.
Generally, English is spoken in business with foreigners. Inquire beforehand to determine if an interpreter is needed.
Business climate is very conservative. Meetings are generally impersonal, brisk, orderly, planned and task oriented.
The Swiss tend to get right down to business after a few minutes of general discussion.
Presentations and reports should be orderly, well-prepared, thorough and detailed.
The Swiss are fair bargainers but not hagglers. Discussions are detailed, cautious, and often pessimistic. Decisions are made methodically.
It is not acceptable to call a Swiss businessperson at home unless there is an emergency.
Swedes take punctuality for business meetings very seriously and expect you to do likewise. Call with an explanation if you are delayed.
Use last names and appropriate titles until specifically invited by your Swedish host or colleague to use first names.
English is commonly used in business. An interpreter is rarely necessary. Business cards in English are acceptable.
During business meetings, Swedes usually get right down to business after very brief cordialities.
Agendas are clearly set for meetings with a stated purpose.
Swedes are factual, practical, precise, reserved and get to the point quickly. When communicating with Swedes, be clear and concise in detailing what you expect from them. They will be equally clear with you.
Presentations are important. They should be clear, to the point and detailed.
Reports, briefings and presentations should be backed up by facts, figures, tables and charts.
Swedes are generally tough negotiators. They are methodical and detailed, slow to change their positions and will push hard for concessions.
In the relatively small private sector, it is important to know who is who and how everyone fits in the corporate structure. Important decisions are often made by middle and lower level managers.
While decision making may be a slow process, implementing decisions is often rapid.
Do not call a Swedish businessperson at home unless it is important and you have a well-established relationship with this person.
Thailand has a pro-business attitude. Business decisions are slow. Decisions pass through many levels before being decided upon. Planning is short-term. Top management is often family. Who you know is important. Powerful connections are respected.
First meetings generally produce good humor, many smiles, polite conversation and few results. The second meeting should include a meal invitation. Meetings begin with small talk. Discussing business before becoming acquainted is impolite. Degrees, especially from prestigious universities, bring status. Thais may list these on their business card. Thais respect foreigners with powerful connections.
Negotiations may be lengthy. Process takes precedence over content. Slow information flow may delay discussions and decisions.
Thais prefer to work later in the evening rather than early in the morning. Business is kept separate from work. Family comes first before business.
Frankness is not appreciated. Be subtle in responding with a negative reply.
In Great Britain, punctuality is important for business meetings. Be on time.
Brits prefer a congenial business relationship, but tend to get right down to business after a few moments of polite conversation.
Business is best initiated through a well-connected third party.
The Board of Directors is the source of power and the principal decision making unit in a company. Formal approval of the board is required for most decisions. Decisions may be slow in the making.
Expect formalities and protocol to be observed in business, especially in London.
Business organization traditionally is multi-layered with a vertical chain of command. A network of committees, formal and informal, exists in larger companies. Group consensus is preferred to individual initiative.
In older companies, business still centers around the "old boy network" with prep schools, universities and family ties being of great importance. Newer companies are more progressive.
Meetings should be scheduled well in advance.
Meetings generally have a concrete objective, such as: making a decision, developing a plan or arriving at an agreement.
Presentations should be detailed and subdued.
Scots are known for being skilled businesspersons, priding themselves for being internationalists. They also are suspicious of "go-getters" and respect success only when it is achieved over time.
In a country that prides itself on its individualism, companies are organized and structured with many different styles depending on the industry, the company's history and its current leaders. In the United States, business relationships are formed between companies rather than between people. Americans do business where they get the best deal and the best service. It is not important to develop a personal relationship in order to establish a long and successful business relationship.
Americans view the business card as a source of future information and tend to exchange cards casually. There is no set ritual for exchanging business cards.
Americans prefer directness in communication. When Americans say "yes" or "no," they mean precisely that. "Maybe" really does mean "it might happen"; it does not mean "no."
It is always proper to ask questions if you do not understand something. Americans ask questions -- lots of them. They are not ashamed to admit what they do know. Americans will assume you understand something if you do not tell them otherwise.
Americans are often uncomfortable with silence. Silence is avoided in social or business meetings.
It is rude to interrupt someone who is talking. Say, "Excuse me" during a pause and wait to be recognized. Interruptions, however, are common. Do not be surprised if someone finishes your sentence if you hesitate when you are speaking.
Americans put a great deal of value on the written word. American law almost always requires contracts to be written out. Verbal contracts are rarely legally binding. Make sure you read the fine print.
Do not enter into any contract without hiring a lawyer. No savvy American businessperson would dream of signing a contract before consulting a lawyer.
It is very important in written communication to spell names correctly and have correct titles. If you are unsure of these, call the person's assistant to get the correct spelling and title.
Keep appointments once they are made. You may not get a second chance if you do not.
When you are doing business in the United States, you must be on time. Americans view someone being late as rude, showing a lack of respect and having sloppy, undisciplined personal habits.
Being "on time" in business situations generally means being about five minutes early. Five minutes late is acceptable with a brief apology. Ten to fifteen minutes late requires a phone call to warn of the delay and to apologize.
It is very important to meet deadlines. If you tell someone that you will have a report to them by a certain date, or that you will fax something to them immediately, they will take you at your word. People who miss deadlines are viewed as irresponsible and undependable.
Meetings are generally informal and relaxed in manner, but serious in content. Often an agenda will be distributed before a meeting, so the participants will be prepared to discuss certain topics. A successful meeting is short and to the point. Be prepared to begin business immediately, with little or no prior small talk.
Participation is expected in meetings. A quiet person may be viewed as not prepared or as having nothing important to contribute.
Meetings often end with a summary and an action plan for the participants to execute. A meeting is only considered successful if something concrete is decided.
Americans appreciate and are impressed by numbers. Using statistics to support your opinions will help you be persuasive.
Generally, there is one negotiation leader who has the authority to make decisions. Team negotiations are rare. Americans may begin negotiations with unacceptable conditions or demands. They are usually taking a starting position that gives them room to bargain.
The goal of most negotiations in the United States is to arrive at a signed contract. Long-term relationships and benefits may not be the main objective. The immediate deal may be the only important issue.
Negotiations may seem rushed to you. Remember that "time is money" to Americans and that they may not think that building a relationship with potential business partners is necessary.
Americans are very comfortable picking up the telephone and immediately conducting business with someone they have never met and perhaps never will meet.
Business cards are usually exchanged when meeting for the first time. Give and receive a business card with both hands.
The Vietnamese are generally quite punctual and expect foreigners to be the same. That said, the Vietnamese can be very flexible and accommodating when situations occur that are beyond the control of one of the parties involved (for example, a washed-out street, traffic jam, etc.).
Few Vietnamese speak English well. An interpreter is usually necessary.
A foreigner doing business in Vietnam will have to deal with government officials. You may have to go through the same slow procedure dozens of times to obtain the necessary permits to operate a foreign-owned company in Vietnam. Continual, direct contact with the ministry officials responsible for granting or approving your permits and licenses is very important. Difficulties may arise when one official refuses to honor an agreement concluded by another official.
Most decisions are made by committee in Vietnam. Individual connections are not as important as in many other Asian countries, because no one holds absolute power to make a decision. You can not rely on one person in a particular organization to safeguard your interests.
The Vietnamese willingness to avoid unpleasantness can sometimes lead to great misunderstandings. "Yes" may not mean "yes." When the Vietnamese say "No problem," you can take it to mean "Yes, there is a problem." Double and even triple-check all commitments, and then monitor them closely.
Your local partner in Vietnam is very important and should be chosen very carefully.
Corruption is widespread. All manners of payoffs, kickbacks and "gifts" are quite common. Be aware that corruption will not only affect your costs, but also may contribute to unexpected delays in delivery and the processing of licenses.
Appointments are usually necessary and should be made at least one week in advance by telephone, fax or email.
It is generally easy to schedule meetings with senior level managers if you are coming from another country if the meeting is planned well in advance.
It can be difficult to schedule meetings in December and January since these are the prime months for summer vacation.
Arrive at meetings on time or even a few minutes early.
If you do not arrive on time, your behaviour may be interpreted as indicating that you are unreliable or that you think your time is more important than the person with whom you are meeting.
Meetings are generally relaxed; however, they are serious events.
Expect a brief amount of small talk before getting down to the matter at hand.
If you make a presentation, avoid hype, exaggerated claims, hyperbole, and bells and whistles. New Zealanders are interested in what people 'can do' not what they say they can do.
Present your business case with facts and figures. Emotions and feelings are not important in the New Zealand business climate.
Maintain eye contact and a few feet of personal space.
The negotiating process takes time.
Do not attempt high-pressure sales tactics.
Demonstrate the benefits of your services or products rather than talking about them.
Start your negotiations with a realistic figure. Since this is not a bargaining culture, New Zealanders do not expect to haggle over price.
Kiwis look for value for their money.
Do not make promises you cannot keep or offer unrealistic proposals. Kiwis do not generally trust people who have to oversell!
They are quite direct and expect the same in return. They appreciate brevity and are not impressed by more detail than is required.
Agreements and proposals must state all points clearly. All terms and conditions should be explained in detail.
Stick to the point while speaking.
Kiwis appreciate honesty and directness in business dealings.
Spaniards do not take punctuality for business meetings seriously, but expect that you will be on time; call with an explanation if you are delayed.
Spain is not a meeting culture. Meetings are to communicate instructions or to save time.
Spaniards will want to spend time getting to know you and establishing chemistry before doing business. Personal qualities are valued over technical ability, professionalism or competence.
Typically, Spanish is the language of business, but most large companies conduct business in English and Spanish. You cannot expect English to be widely spoken. Check ahead to determine if an interpreter is needed.
Spaniards' lack of trust in institutions produces a constant atmosphere of crisis and emergency.
Spaniards like making decisions on their own. Do not impose a decision in direct language. It could be humiliating to your associates.
The organizational chart is social, not functional. The third or fourth level down may be more powerful than those at the top.
The Belgians are formal in their business dealings. They both extend and expect a high level of courtesy.
Titles (Dr, Professor, etc.) should be used both in correspondence and in face-to-face meetings.
Business contacts are not normally addressed on a first name basis (unless the contact is long standing and the relationship dictates).
Appointment times and schedules are respected.
A handshake, plus a greeting is customary when meeting contacts, or entering and leaving a meeting.
Do not schedule business meetings in July/August (summer vacation), December 20 to January 6, the weeks prior to and after Easter, or work days adjacent to public holidays. To ensure availability, always make advance appointments.
Office and corporate wear is formal. A suit and tie for men, and suits or conservative wear for women. Exclusive restaurants will stipulate a jacket and tie for men. Socially, the dress code is smart, casual if the occasion demands.
Italians generally dress well at all times, but conservative attire is recommended for business meetings.
Business visits in July and August are strongly discouraged as this is the Italian summer and most people and companies take their vacations at this time.
Italy is price-conscious and competitive, so do as much preparation as possible before visiting Italy and send detailed company information in advance.
Italian importers generally ask for a large amount of point of sale material and samples.
Quick responses and prompt follow-ups may not be forthcoming from Italian contacts, but are appreciated from Australian contacts.
Long credit payment terms are common (60 to 90 days, 120 for major department stores, large corporations and public sector organisations).
Prices should be quoted in Euro, cost, insurance and freight (CIF) Italian port, or alternatively in US dollars.
When writing figures, Italians invert commas and decimal points, eg. 1,5 per cent and ITL2.300.000.
Indonesians, especially the Javanese, consider outward displays of respect very important.
Decision making frequently occurs through consensus. To attempt to force a decision will often have an adverse effect on negotiations.
A common Indonesian term is ‘jam karet’ (rubber time), and is an indication that meetings may not necessarily start on time. Guests may also arrive late due to traffic. RSVPs are frequently not answered, but this does not imply the guest will not come. In fact, for some invitations, you may find guests turn up with one or more friends unannounced.
Indonesians will frequently not ask for clarification if unsure of a matter. Often they will respond with what they believe you want to hear. Moreover, ‘Yes’ can simply mean, ‘Yes, I hear you’ and not ‘Yes, I agree’. Ensure that the message has been fully understood.
Always have plenty of business cards, and treat other peoples’ cards with respect when they are handed to you. Never give or offer your business card (or any items) with your left hand.
Invitations to business functions often state lounge suit/batik. Long-sleeved batik shirts are regarded as formal wear, (ie. equivalent to a dark business suit) and are frequently worn by both Indonesians and resident businessmen in Jakarta. Trousers, shirts and ties are common business attire. Women's business clothing is becoming more dressy. Avoid wearing revealing clothing such as Alcohol is not widely consumed and pork is prohibited for religious reasons. However, Indonesians generally tolerate alcohol consumption.
When presented with tea or coffee, always wait for your host or hostess to drink first. It is also considered polite to at least sample the food or drink offered. In a meeting, refreshments are frequently not touched till the end.
Avoid pointing, as this is considered to be rude.
Avoid showing the soles of your feet when seated, as this is considered offensive, particularly if the soles of your feet face anyone in the room. Instead place your feet flat on the ground.
In business, the exchange of gifts is not widely practised.
Business cards in English are acceptable. However, it is a good idea for frequent visitors to the market or those wishing to do business with the government to have business cards in English and Arabic.
‘Small talk’ is vital for the establishment of trust and must not be hurried or dispensed with. In introductory business conversations, talk often centres on the health and wellbeing of the other person, but never about his wife and female relatives.
It is not unusual in the Arab custom of having a number of people in an office all discussing various matters at once. When invited into an office, you will be given a seat, refreshments and be engaged in introductory conversation, after which your host may break off conversation with you and deal with one of his other visitors before returning to you.
Refreshments (eg. coffee, tea) should always be accepted. Coffee is offered to guests in order of their rank, if known to the host. It is customary to drink more than one cup of coffee or tea but not more than your host or others present. To decline a further serving, you shake the cup when handing it back to the server.
Refrain from expressing extreme views as this may be seen as a sign of inflexibility.
Rarely will your host initiate the business discussions. You will normally be expected to commence with a proposal. Keep descriptions short and to-the-point. Remember, a ‘yes’ does not necessarily confirm agreement – but can merely mean, ‘yes, I hear you’.
The exchange of gifts is common practice in business circles but items are usually limited to small corporate items such as pens and brochures. In business circles, standard dress for men is a business suit and tie. For evening functions, the formality of dress can vary from a sports coat to a business suit with tie. For casual occasions, trousers and a shirt are acceptable.
Women should wear loose fitting garments, such as a long dress or loose fitting trousers and a baggy shirt. Dress conservatively and avoid wearing revealing clothes. The head does not need to be covered.
Meetings can be arranged with ease and this extends to both the commercial and public sector. Ease of contact at all levels of the business community is a feature in almost every organisation. Due to the tight schedules of most Danish business people, it is recommended you arrange appointments well in advance. If you are going to be delayed you should call your host to notify and possibly set a new time.
At formal meetings and occasions surnames are used, but in the daily modern business environment use of first names is common.
Decision making is frequently by consensus, so on-the-spot decisions are rare and attempts to force a decision will be counter productive.
English is spoken almost universally in Denmark and definitely in most restaurants. Lunch normally starts between 12 midday to 12.30pm while the evening dinners starts around 6.00pm–7.00pm.
Generally Danes have five weeks of holiday per year, and the annual vacation period is from late June to beginning of August. Visits to Denmark during this period should be avoided, as it will be difficult to arrange appointments and hotel accommodation. This also applies to the Christmas / New Year period.
It is advisable to ask whether it is okay to smoke before lighting up in someone’s office or home.
Mauritians are more formal, especially in the public sector. First names should be avoided on first contact (unless you have corresponded in the past). Handshakes are freely used and are the standard form of greeting, although in certain orthodox circles this may not be practised with women.
Titles can be generally disregarded without offence, but it is preferable to use them (in abbreviated form) in correspondence. Where someone has more than one name (eg. Peter Chan Sui Ko), he is usually addressed as Mr Chan Sui Ko or Mr Chan.
Exchanging business cards is common practice, therefore have plenty with you.
Exchanging gifts is not normally practised in business; however, corporate gifts may be exchanged at Christmas time.
Mauritians prefer to be provided with brochures and CIF price lists.
Be punctual for a meeting although it may happen that your client/contact is some minutes late. If you are running late, however, do phone and advise that you will be late for your meeting.
Dinners and lunches with local representatives and customers help develop networks.
Business suits are generally recommended for business meetings but long sleeve shirt and tie are acceptable within many private companies.
Government purchases over a set threshold value are effected through the Central Procurement Unit and this process can be lengthy at times. In the case of the business community (private/corporate) this is not the case as they are free to shop around for the best deal.
The exchange of gifts is not widely practised or expected in business in Macau.
Business cards – The exchange of business cards is a must in all business engagement. It is advisable to prepare adequate number of business card for your business trip. Business cards should be presented and received with both hands.
Establishing contacts and networks – The quality of your agent or representative’s contacts is crucial, and business introductions are vital, as companies are very cautious when dealing with unfamiliar contacts.
Preparation and follow-up – Exporters should prepare as much documented information about their companies, products and services as possible, in advance of their visit. Business visitors must remember to follow up on their meetings in Macau when they return to Australia.
Business entertainment – Meals with local representatives and customers help develop networks and are a normal part of doing business in Macau.
Correspondence – Answer enquiries, proposals, correspondence and invitations as soon as possible. At the very least, immediately send an acknowledgement stating that an answer will follow shortly. If you do not show sufficient interest and speed in your correspondence, your potential customer will easily find another firm who will!
Face – Avoid embarrassing Chinese in the presence of others. To avoid the person losing face, discuss any criticisms or disputes in private. In some cases, it may be helpful to use an intermediary to convey criticism or raise issues of concern, particularly with someone of high social status.
Punctuality – Chinese place importance on punctuality and Australian visitors should do their best to avoid arriving late at appointments. Itineraries should take this into consideration and allow adequate time to move from one appointment to the next.
Business attire – Business attire is expected for formal meetings, smart casual on other occasions.
Forms of address – Many Macau business people will have an English first name, used with a Chinese family name, eg. Peter Chan. In this case, the family name is used last, as in Australia. Normally when a Chinese name is written, the family name comes first, with the given name following, eg. Mr Chan Tai-Man would be addressed as Mr Chan. When addressing business correspondence to Macau, all names should be written in full, with titles included.
Finns are straightforward, easy to get along with and are fond of nature and sports.
Most business-people have tight schedules and many commitments and it is advisable to seek appointments well in advance of your visit.
Punctuality is required both for business and social appointments.
First name terms are more common in younger, modern businesses than in traditional circles or at formal occasions, but if you are unsure, leave it to your host to suggest first names.
General greetings are by handshake, stating clearly both your first name and surname.
It is customary to offer your business card at the commencement of a meeting.
Decision-making is frequently by consensus, therefore, on the spot decisions are rare and attempts to force a decision will be counter productive.
Business dress can vary within Finland depending on the type of industry. Generally for a first meeting formal business dress is most appropriate.