Global Business Etiquettes for the Corporate Traveller

Our Corporate Travel Managers are experts in helping you conduct your business anywhere around the globe. But as you cross time zones and continents, your needs as a business person change.

Travel Manager Leona Zelena understands this, and has put together a guide to business travel for the modern corporate traveller. Here we cover four key business regions.

United Arab Emirates

When doing business in the UAE, remember their working week runs from Sunday to Thursday. Try and schedule your meetings far in advance and factor in more time than usual for small talk: something that it is impolite to rush through in the Middle East.

Greet the most senior member of your counterpart party before anyone else. Handshakes may last a little longer than in the UK. For men greeting Middle Eastern women, it's best to wait and see if she offers her hand first before offering your own. The same applies for women meeting Muslim men.

Most commonly, greetings are made with the words “as-salam alaikum”, peace be upon you, and the response is “wa alaikum as-salam”, and upon you be peace. Be sure to memorise both these phrases.

Who you are is more important that what you have achieved in the UAE. Try and have someone make an introduction for you instead of introducing yourself alone.

When gifting, choosing items of high personal significance is valued in the UAE. Senior citizens are treated with more respect than in the UK and standing upon the entrance of a senior person is customary.

A man's wife should never be mentioned and both sexes should cover their arms, legs, shoulders and toes at all times.

Thailand

The first thing to note about business etiquette in Thailand is the greeting. Women say ‘Sawatdee-kah' and men have a slightly different turn of phrase which is ‘Sawatdee-krap'.

You may be greeted with a handshake or a wai. A wai is when someone puts their hands together like they are going to pray and holds them close to their chest and performs a slight bow. The higher they put their hands up, the more respect they are showing you. However, it is preferred by the Thai that you don't exchange wai's unless the person who originates from the country does it to you first.

When introducing, give the first names of the rest of your party before sharing your own. It's at this point that you should exchange business cards if you wish to do so. Again, give one to the most senior person first.

Just as in the UAE, Thai people appreciate small talk before discussing business. The Thai royal family may be a sensitive area of discussion and should not be insulted.

North America

Be on time! Americans do not appreciate being kept waiting. But try not to be offended if you are. Although Americans tend to conduct business with a more relaxed attitude, they are serious when they give consent or agreement.

They like to get right into the business. If you want to chat, wait until you've concluded what you came to discuss. Don't be surprised if the person you're meeting uses your first name informally. Just like in the UK, business cards are seen as something to remind you later, so it will probably go straight into a wallet if given.

If you suggest meeting for lunch or breakfast, you will be expected to pay. Even if it seems a casual environment, if you are doing business, it is best to wear formal attire. One last tip: remember to bring your firmest handshake and give lots of eye contact.

Germany

Business meetings are usually avoided in July and August. Germans, like Americans, value punctuality and smart presentation and prefer to do business in German. Senior personnel are likely to speak some English and be happy to conduct business in English, but as in most countries, making some effort to speak the local language is often much appreciated.

Germans prefer to be more formal with names and titles, so use your “Herr”s and “Frau”s liberally. It is expected that you'll swap business cards during your first meeting, and handshakes tend to be short and sharp.

Although kisses are often exchanged in Germany, this is not the case when meeting for business. Make an attempt to earn the trust of your German contacts and refrain from expressing strong emotions.

Wherever you need to travel for your business, our corporate Travel Managers will always go the extra mile to make your trip run smoothly: from booking hotels to sharing expert local knowledge to impress and delight your hosts.

To have Simplexity make your next business trip a success, call 0203 535 9290 today, or email info@simplexitytravel.com now. 

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