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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Cross Cultural Etiquette and Manners: Russia

(Refer our High Quality Management Encyclopedia Management Universe at:

Russia: Etiquette and Manners

(Also refer: for general/executive etiquette and manners, for dining etiquette and table manners, for telephone etiquette, for email etiquette)

  • Business meetings are arranged by appointments. Fix up your appointment well in advance. Confirm the meeting a day or two in advance and also when you arrive in the country.
  • Lead time for governmental appointments can be even six months.
  • Russians are business like and logically, as such, you do need have to necessarily establish long standing personal relationships before doing business with them. Yet it may be a good idea to develop network of people who you know and trust and also look out for connections in high places. This can help facilitate to cut through the red tape often encountered in Russia.
  • Avoid planning your business meetings in first week of May since it is filled with many public holidays.
  • Arrive in time for the meetings. Punctuality is important.
  • Things get delayed often and even the meeting schedules keep changing. The meetings may even get cancelled. So be prepared for this and to be kept waiting. Yet, keep your cool.
  • Dress formally and conservatively for business meetings. Men are advised to wear business suits. Women should wear subdued colored business suits with skirts covering the knees.
  • Look impeccable.
  • Hierarchy (i.e. age, rank/position) is important to Russians. They prefer to meet up with the people of similar rank and position.
  • Shaking hands is the accepted form of exchanging greetings in a formal setting like a business meeting.
  • Business cards are exchanged after the initial introductions without any formal ritual. Have one side of your business card done in Russian language. Make sure to print your advanced university degrees on your business card; it impresses Russian audience.
  • Most of the Russians are most comfortable with Russian language (around 81% people in Russia speak Russian language as their first and only language. It's also Russia's official language). Therefore, let your Russian counterparts in the meetings see Russian side of your business card.
  • In case some participants of the meeting do not present their business cards to you, you should still note their details.
  • Meetings start with good amount of socializing and introductory exchanges before getting down to business.
  • In formal situations, address the people more formally rather than using their first names. (Russian names have three parts: first name, then middle name, which is a version of the father's first name formed by adding "vich" or "ovich" for a male and "avna" or "ovna" for a female followed by the third part which is the family or surname).
  • Make detailed presentations and emphasize your organization's differentiating features. It is advisable to bring along your technical experts with you. Keep ready the handouts in English as well as in Russian.
  • Don't be surprised if meetings get interrupted frequently for reasons not necessarily connected with the meetings.
  • Meetings and negotiations are slow. You must have patience.
  • Russians use a lot of tactics in business negotiations like prolonging the talks (buying/lengthening the time), losing temper, walking out, threatening to call off the association etc. They believe in somehow grabbing a concession from you. So, it is advisable not to use high pressure tactics.
  • Nothing is final until the contract is signed. Even then, Russians may modify a contract to suit their purpose.
  • At the end of meeting, you may need to sign the summary of discussions of the meeting called "protokol".
  • If you are invited to a Russian's house, reach there on time. Being marginally late by a few minutes is OK.
  • Remove your shoes and wear the house slippers if offered by the host.
  • Do not be too casual in your dress. Err on dressing in formal or semi-formal clothes.
  • Greet the host and hostess by a hand-shake and address formally. You may notice their close friends hugging and kissing on cheeks and addressing each other by the first name or by the first two parts of their names. 
  • Offer to help the hostess with the preparation or clearing up after a meal is served. Offering this help second time may be accepted by the hostess.
  • Give a small gift to the host/hostess which may be politely refused the first time. Offer it again and it will be accepted.
  • Russians follow continental dining manners and use fork and knife.
  • Follow all the usual table manners.
  • Take your seat as suggested by the host and start eating only after the host requests you to start. Same way, do not leave your seat after you finish eating till the host requests you to do so.
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Monday, August 16, 2010

Cross Cultural Etiquette and Manners: France

France: Etiquette and Manners

(Also refer: for general etiquette and manners, for dining etiquette and table manners, for telephone etiquette, for email etiquette)

  • French is the official language of France. It is the first language of 88% of the population.
  • If you do not speak French, apologize; yet learning a few commonly used phrases in French language will be appreciated and it may be useful in developing a relationship, mutual trust and respect which will go a long way in your personal and business dealings in France.
  • French people are private people. And they are generally polite in all their dealings.
  • Make appointments for the business meetings. Fix up your appointments at least 2 weeks in advance. Appointments may be made in writing or by telephone; they are often handled by the secretaries.
  • Preferably avoid planning your business meetings during July and August, these being general vacation months.
  • Your dress for the business meetings should be understated; yet stylish.
  • Men should wear dark colored, conservative business suit for first few meetings. Later on, choose your business dress by observations of the culture of the organization with which you are doing business.
  • Women should wear either business suit or dress elegantly in soft colors.
  • Wearing good quality accessories will be appreciated since French people are believed to generally like the finer aspects of life.
  • Be punctual for the meetings. If you are likely to be late inadvertently, inform about it to your host organization over the phone and give convincing reason.
  • Handshake is an accepted form of exchanging greetings.
  • Exchange the business cards after introductions without any formal ritual. French business cards are often a bit larger as compared to those used in other countries.
  • It will be appreciated if on other side of your business card you print your details in French though it is not essential.
  • You may include your advanced academic degrees, if any, on your business card.
  • You may expect a bit of formal business environment in meetings. Courtesy is expected in dealings. Address the people in a formal way and do not use first names unless invited to do so.
  • Sit as per the seating plan; you may be to be told where to sit.
  • Do not exaggerate and do not mislead by giving any false information. Also do not lean on confrontational behavior or over-selling or aggressive tactics. These things may go against you with French people.
  • They will appreciate a high quality professional presentation that convinces about the benefits from your proposal.
  • Maintain eye contact while making your business presentation.
  • Do not be overzealous to be unduly friendly; it may not be seen as correct.
  • Generally meetings are used for discussions. Often, decisions may not emerge in the meetings.
  • Pace of the business in meetings may appear to be slow. French people like to go in depth of the business matters involving detailed analysis.
  • French people adhere to protocol and hierarchy. Decisions are normally made by the top management of the company.
  • Business agreements are formalized in the form of a comprehensive and precise contract.
  • When invited for dinner by your business associate or friend to their homes, be punctual. In case you expect to reach late (which should not be more than say, 10 odd minutes), telephone the host about it with reason for being late.
  • Bring flowers or high quality wine for the host as gift.
  • If invited to a large dinner party, especially in Paris, send flowers well in advance say, the morning of the party so that they may be displayed that evening.
  • Dress impeccably. Do not wear a casual dress. French people are normally fashion conscious.
  • Greet with a handshake though among friends French people may greet each other by lightly kissing on the cheeks.
  • Do not address the people attending the dinner by their first names as they are reserved for family and close friends. You may use the first name if the person invites you to do so.
  • You may be directed to a particular seat as per the seating plan. Sit accordingly.
  • Start eating only after the hostess announces “bon app├ętit”.
  • Follow continental table manners. (Refer: Dining Etiquette and Table Manners
  • Do not rest your elbows on the table.
  • Finish everything on your plate. If you have not finished eating, cross your knife and fork on your plate with the fork over the knife. Leave your wineglass nearly full if you do not want more.
  • If you live in an apartment building, greet your neighbors when you happen to see them or meet them.
  • Use French greetings “bonjour” or “bonsoir” (good morning or good evening) with the title “Monsieur” or “Madame” when entering a shop and "au revoir" (good bye) when leaving.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Cross Cultural Etiquette and Manners: New Zealand

New Zealand: Etiquette and Manners

(Also refer: for general etiquette and manners, dining etiquette and table manners, for telephone etiquette, for email etiquette)

  • The day-to-day language used in New Zealand is English. Other two official languages are: Maori and NZ Sign language. English and Maori languages have adopted words from each other.
  • People of New Zealand are serious about maintaining the environment and love to preserve their country's beauty.
  • Make appointments for business meetings at least one week in advance by telephone, email or fax.
  • December and January are prime summer vacation months and therefore try to avoid planning your meetings in these months.
  • Dress conservatively for business meetings. You may remove jacket and roll up shirtsleeves when working.
  • Reach the meeting venue punctually or a few minutes in advance. Late arrivals make an unfavorable impression.
  • Meetings are conducted in a relaxed manner though it does not mean that the seriousness of the discussions is undermined.
  • Greet the participants of the meeting with handshake and smile.
  • While New Zealanders switch over to first names quickly, it is advisable to address them by their title and surname till they call you by your first name or suggest switching to communication on first name basis.
  • Small talk before getting down to the business agenda is quite common.
  • Make truthful business presentations; do not exaggerate. Use appropriate facts and figures in your business presentations.
  • New Zealanders often respect action to mere words.
  • Maintain eye contact with the fellow participants of the meeting.
  • Give them the personal space they need.
  • Do not show aggression in your selling pitch.
  • Do not oversell. Promise only what you can really deliver.
  • In negotiating with New Zealander, demonstrating the benefits of your products and services will work better than just talking about the benefits.
  • Be concise in your communication; stick to the point. Lengthy talks may not be appreciated. Yet, all the terms and conditions should be put forth specifically and in detail.
  • New Zealanders are friendly and polite people though may be a bit reserved to start with.
  • You may find New Zealanders saying hello to strangers and offering assistance without being asked.
  • They enjoy extending hospitality.
  • If you are invited at home of a New Zealander, make sure to present to the host a gift say chocolates, flowers, a book.
  • Opening the gifts when received is a common practice.
  • Wait to be told where to sit around the dining table.
  • Follow the continental table manners. (Refer: Dining Etiquette and Table Manners

Friday, April 23, 2010

Cross Cultural Etiquette and Manners: Australia

Australia: Etiquette and Manners

(Also refer: for general etiquette and manners, dining etiquette and table manners, for telephone etiquette, for email etiquette)

  • You can communicate in English while in Australia. English is the main language used in Australia.
  • For business meetings, appointments are essential though relatively easy to fix and schedule. Make your appointments well in advance.
  • For business, dress conservatively. Men should wear a dark colored business suit. Women should wear any smart decent dress or a business suit. Particularly in tropical areas of Australia, you may find Australians wearing shirt, tie and bermuda shorts.
  • You should be punctual for business meetings in Australia. It is even better to arrive a few minutes early.
  • Exchange your business cards at the time of introduction. No formal rituals are necessary. If you do not receive a business card from some person, do not feel offended by it; perhaps the person may not have one with him.
  • Business meetings are serious events but they are conducted in a relaxed environment and manner.
  • Australians are not very formal. So you can greet them with handshake and smile and by saying “hello” or “hello, how are you”. . People in Australia prefer to use first names, even at the initial meeting.
  • Normally Australians are modest people with a sense of humor. You can reciprocate in the same way. You need not be pretentious or boasting type.
  • In business dealings, Australians do not find it necessary to have long-standing personal relationships with people with whom they intend doing business. Business communications are pretty direct. If an Australian disapproves something that you mention, he will tell you about it.
  • You can get down to business quickly with minimum small talk.
  • In your presentation, avoid exaggerated claims and present only facts and figures. Australian business people appreciate brevity. Emotional overtures are not important in the Australian business scenario.
  • Pace of business is relatively quick to start with but may slow down at the time of final decision making since decision are normally made at the top level of the company.
  • Negotiations or bargaining is done to the extent that they expect your initial proposal to have only a small margin for negotiation. Avoid high-pressure or aggressive techniques while negotiating or dealing with Australian businessmen.
  • If invited to some one's home for dinner, please take with you a good quality bottle of wine or box of chocolates or flowers and present to the hostess.
  • If invited to some one's home for barbecue, the invitees usually bring wine or beer for their personal consumption.
  • You will need to follow continental table manners while dining (for example, holding the fork in the left hand and the knife in the right while eating and indicating that you have finished eating by laying your knife and fork parallel on your plate etc).
  • Follow other usual dining table manners (refer:
  • You can open the gifts when received.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Cross Cultural Etiquette and Manners: Singapore

Singapore: Etiquette and Manners

(Also refer: for general etiquette and manners, dining etiquette and table manners, for telephone etiquette, for email etiquette)

  • Age, hierarchical position or status of a person are important in Singapore business world and society.
  • Group dependence and group harmony are more important than those of an individual in Singapore culture. So, group is more important than an individual.
  • Business dealings are more formal.
  • Meetings and appointments should be planned and dates decided well in advance, say two weeks or so before.
  • Many businesses are closed around Chinese new year for almost a week- this is in late January and early February. Plan your meetings accordingly.
  • Arrive for the meeting punctually.
  • Introductions are done in order of age or status. Elderly person or the person with the highest status is introduced first.
  • Greetings can be exchanged with hand-shake in business environment. In social setup, particularly with older people, greeting by way of bowing the head is acceptable.
  • Men and women may shake hands if woman takes the initiative in extending her hand first. To be on the conservative side, when being introduced to someone of the opposite sex, bowing or nodding the head and giving smile are OK.
  • Exchange your business cards after the introductions.
  • Give your business card by using both hands.
  • Receive business cards, examine them carefully to display your respect and then alone put them in your business cards case.
  • Seating arrangement in meetings follows hierarchy and therefore, wait to be told about your and your associates' seats.
  • Personal relationships help in building the business relationships in Singapore.
  • In business meetings, the business agenda follows an initial small talk.
  • You will have to give lot of attention to the non-verbal body language, silence, hints and such subtlety of their communications. Explicit "no" is normally not used by Singaporeans.
  • Pace of business negotiations is rather slow normally.
  • Normally, decisions are taken in group by a consensus.
  • Do not give gifts in the formal dinners.
  • When invited at homes, it is good to give gifts.
  • Wrap the gift in wrappers of pleasant colors and hand it over with both the hands.
  • Give the gift when you are departing.
  • While receiving the gift, do not open it in front of the host.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Cross Cultural Etiquette and Manners: India

India: Etiquette and Manners

(Also refer: for general etiquette and manners, dining etiquette and table manners, for telephone etiquette, for email etiquette)
  • Plan your business meetings with your Indian counterparts well in advance in writing and also, over the phone.
  • Try to avoid your meetings around the Indian holidays.
  • Indian climate is hot and not so comfortable particularly during summer. Take this into consideration while visiting India for business or for pleasure.
  • For business meetings, men can be formally dressed, may wear a suit and tie. In summer, you may have to remove your jacket.
  • When not attending formal business, men can wear short-sleeved shirts and long pants. You do not see many people wearing shorts on the streets and in social gatherings in India. This trend is gradually changing though, particularly in big cities.
  • Women should wear conservative dresses or pantsuits for business meetings.
  • Women should not wear revealing outfits in business meetings as well as while going out for shopping or to places of entertainment in India.
  • Meetings may not always start on dot. Try to be punctual but if the meetings start after the scheduled time, do not feel discouraged. At times meetings may get rescheduled, do not get frustrated immediately.
  • Age and hierarchy are important factors to decide the importance of people in India. In social and family environment, people of higher age are respected by the people of lower age. However, in government and in business organizations, hierarchy and power positions are respected.
  • Therefore, as a business meeting protocol, greet the most senior Indian person the first and then others.
  • When you meet an Indian or when you leave him, you can greet him by a hand-shake. The common greeting in India is saying “Namaste (pronounced as na-mas-tay)” to the person you are greeting and while saying so, bring your palms together at chest level with a slight bow of the head.
  • You may shake hands; however, greeting with "Namaste" is appreciated lot more, particularly, when meeting people in informal environment.
  • Men shake hands with men when meeting or leaving. Men do not shake hands with women or do not touch them.
  • Women may do a hand-shake with westernized Indian men but not normally with others. Traditional Indian women may shake hands with foreign women but not usually with men.
  • When addressing an Indian, use the appropriate formal title like Mr, Mrs, Miss, Doctor, Professor and then his or her surname (the family name) or if you do not know their names then you may address them with sir or madam.
  • In the formal setup, Indians do not deal with each other on first name basis that easily. It takes them some time though this trend is changing gradually.
  • When doing business in India, exchange your business cards at the beginning of the meeting. Give your card by your right hand.
  • In most of the government departments and for almost all the businesses in India, you can use English as the medium of communication.
  • Building relationships is important in order to carry out your business in India.
  • Meetings may normally start with some small talk as part of opening up process. Topics of opening conversation may be the latest business news etc. Never comment on matters such as poverty etc, it is impolite and hurting.
  • Decisions making is pretty centralized at the highest hierarchical levels in India. Therefore, the decision making or business negotiation process is slow.
  • If Indians have to negate or reject anything or they are in doubt about something, they may not be direct about it. They may say, “We will see”, “We will think about it”, “Perhaps OK, not sure” etc. Chances are that they actually intend saying “no”.
  • Business dinners or lunches are normally arranged in restaurants in prestigious hotels or clubs. You can discuss the business during business entertainment but let the host initiate it.
  • When relationship is developed, you may be invited to the homes too.
  • Do not point blank refuse an invitation to a dinner at home or at a restaurant extended by your business counterpart. If you do not wish to attend or cannot attend it for some reason, give a believable reason.
  • You need not be punctual at the business or social dinners. You can afford to arrive 15 to 20 minutes late for dinner party.
  • When you are invited for dinner at home, ask the host as to where to remove your shoes. At many homes in India, the host expects you to remove your shoes at the entrance to home.
  • At a social event, in case you are welcome with a flower or bouquet or garland, accept it with grace. After a few minutes, keep it at a convenient place in consultation with the host. Do take it to your residence when you leave the place.
  • If invited for dinner at home, you should carry gifts for the host and the host's children if you know about them. You may give perfumes, chocolates or items of china, crystal, silver etc.
  • Give gifts with both hands. Host will normally not open the gift in your presence.
  • If you receive any gift from an Indian, accept it but do not open it in his presence.
  • In Indian homes, the host may serve you the dishes at the dinner. Allow the host to do so.
  • Indian food is best eaten with fingers. If hosts eat with fingers, you may do the same and tell the host that you are enjoying it that way. However, if silverware (fork, knife, spoon etc) is provided, you may use them instead of eating with fingers if you are not used to do so.
  • Ask permission before smoking. In India, it is considered rude to smoke in the presence of elders.
  • Apologize if your feet or shoes touch another person.
  • Public display of affection is not considered as appropriate in India.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Cross Cultural Etiquette and Manners: Japan

Japan: Etiquette and Manners

(Also refer: for general etiquette and manners, dining etiquette and table manners, for telephone etiquette, for email etiquette)
  • Japanese get impressed by the way you dress. So, dress well befitting your status.
  • Men should normally wear dark conservative suit for business and formal meetings.
  • Women should dress conservatively with minimum accessories. Women should avoid wearing pants in business settings.
  • In Japan, you are supposed to remove your shoes many times in many situations. Therefore, prefer the slip-on type shoes that are easy and quick to remove and put on again. Women can do with flatter or low heeled shoes- they should not look taller (particularly more than men).
  • For exchanging greetings you should bow. Lower you bow, you are showing more respect. Some Japanese may shake hands also to greet but the handshake may be weak, do not worry about it.
  • Greet the senior most person first and then others in descending order. Normally the senior official will act more as a ceremonial representative of his company. The lower ranking officials will usually do the talking or negotiating.
  • When doing business in Japan be aware of hierarchy and adapt your behaviour accordingly. Japanese put lot of emphasis on hierarchy.
  • Team-work and group cohesiveness are ingrained in Japanese culture. Therefore, Japanese stress compromise and self-discipline. You should be aware of it when doing business with them.
  • At a Japanese meeting, you will normally deal with a team as opposed to an individual, each member with a specialization. Also, Japanese go into lots details. Therefore, your preparation should also be in-depth.
  • Professionalism and formal behavior are given importance in Japan.
  • In Japanese business situations, exchanging business cards (called meishi in Japanese language) is very important. Business dealings can start only after the business exchange cards ceremony is over. Business cards should be exchanged after the greetings.
  • Print your business card in Japanese on one side and in your home language on the other side. While presenting your card, present the Japanese side up.
  • Present and receive the business cards with both your hands. Do study the card properly and with interest. Do not keep it in pocket or wallet; after careful study of the card, put it in your carry case for storage of cards. Do not write or scribble on the card.
  • Address Japanese person with his last name suffixed with "san" which means Mr or Ms.
  • Japanese people prefer to be addressed by the last names. Therefore do not insist Japanese to address you only by your first name.
  • Seek assistance to clarify the pronunciation of the names.
  • Japanese person finds it difficult to use the word "no". He may respond with "yes" to most of your questions but that does not necessarily mean that he is agreeing; it may really be a "no". This knowledge will help you in carrying out business negotiations with Japanese.
  • Do not use exaggerated hand gestures, facial expressions and movements in your communication since Japanese do not do so normally.
  • Some times you may find silence taking place while in the midst of discussions and you may even find few Japanese closing their eyes. Do not interrupt at such occasions,; perhaps they need time to reflect.
  • Japanese prefer doing business with quiet, sincere and compromising people as compared to dealing with extroverts. Therefore, exhibit humility, be implicit in your communication and project yourself as non-threatening.
  • Normally business entertaining is done in restaurants or bars. It is done after office hours.
  • Allow host to order the meal and pay; Japanese prefer it that way.
  • Tipping is generally not expected in Japan.
  • During business dinners, business may be discussed.
  • Drinks are commonplace in business entertaining. But do not pour a drink yourself; let someone else pour drink for you. If you do not drink, you can politely regret by saying, "No thanks".
  • If you are invited at a Japanese home which is rare, consider it as an honor and appreciate it profusely to your host.
  • Do use polite words like excuse me, please often. Politeness is appreciated. Praise the hospitality. Appreciate the food.
  • In social gatherings, punctuality is not a strict rule.
  • Business and personal gifts are appreciated in Japan. Give and accept the gift with both hands. Present the gifts at the end of a visit.
  • Normal manners like not pointing at others, not blowing nose in the company of others, not encroaching the private space of others should be strictly followed.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Cross Cultural Etiquette and Manners: China

China: Etiquette and Manners

(Also refer: for general etiquette and manners, dining etiquette and table manners, for telephone etiquette, for email etiquette)

  • Greet the oldest person first and then the others. Age is respected.
  • Formal greeting includes handshake particularly from the people outside of China.
  • Eye contact may not be necessary while greeting.
  • To start with, address by the surname with prefix as Mr or Mrs etc. If first name basis address is invited, you will be told what name to use.
  • Chinese want to carry out business with known party since they want to be sure about its reliability.
  • Therefore, many times, they prefer to deal through a known intermediate person or party.
  • Hierarchical positions are important for Chinese. You must maintain that decorum and deal with people in higher ranks quite formally.
  • There is no gender bias in business meetings.
  • Before meetings, you must send your organization's complete profile to the Chinese organization you wish to deal with.
  • Also send your agenda for meeting.
  • Appointments for business meetings should be done well in advance preferably in writing.
  • Chinese like face to face meetings rather than other forms of discussions.
  • Reach the meeting venue on time or slightly early; arriving late is an insult.
  • Guests are generally escorted to their seats which are in descending order of hierarchy. Senior people generally sit opposite senior people from the other party.
  • Exchange the business cards after the introductions. Have one side of your business card printed in Chinese preferable in golden color (auspicious color). Present the card with both the hands.
  • Only senior members of the negotiating team are expected to speak.
  • You should normally leave room for negotiations in your proposals.
  • Meetings require patience. The meetings can be pretty lengthy with lots of conversation and pace may be slow.
  • Take your own interpreter with you if necessary.
  • Cell phones ring frequently and you need not get disturbed emotionally by it.
  • Dress conservatively. Men should wear dark color suits and women should wear conservative suit or dress with high neckline. Women should wear flatter shoes (low heels).
  • Chinese prefer to entertain in public places rather than in their homes, especially when entertaining foreigners. Being invited at homes is considered as an honor.
  • Reach the dining venue on time.
  • If entertained at home, remove your shoes before entering the house.
  • Present a small gift to the hostess/host. Give the gift with both your hands. The hostess/host may refuse to take the gift but do persuade to accept the gift.
  • Chinese like food and a nice food basket will make a decent gift.
  • Do not open the gift while presenting or receiving.
  • Wait to be told where to sit for dinner. The guest of honour will be given a seat facing the door.
  • Eat well to appreciate the food. Try all the dishes.
  • Learn using chopsticks.
  • Dinners and social events are not the place for business discussions.
  • Tipping the waiter in restaurants is becoming a trend with younger generation. Moderate tip is good enough.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Cross Cultural Etiquette and Manners: UK

United Kingdom (UK): Etiquette and Manners

(Also refer: for general etiquette and manners, dining etiquette and table manners, for telephone etiquette, for email etiquette)
  • British people are bit on more formal side.
  • Firm shake hand, irrespective of gender, is good. Do it while meeting and leaving.
  • Address with Mr, Mrs or Miss followed by the surname.
  • Do not start using the first name until invited to do so.
  • Exchange the business cards at the beginning of meeting without much of ceremony.
  • Do not stare into the eyes of English people.
  • Introduction protocol should be followed. Introduce younger person to an older person. Introduce lower rank person to higher rank person. Introduce gentleman to lady.
  • Business meetings are generally formal with clear objectives and agenda.
  • If you plan on an agenda, forward it to your British colleague(s) in advance for reviewing it and recommending any changes.
  • The business proceedings normally start after a brief small talk.
  • In your presentation do not claim more than what are facts. Support your presentation with facts and figures.
  • Follow up the meeting with a letter summarizing the decisions arrived at and the future steps to be taken.
  • Do not probe people with personal questions.
  • When invited for dinner at a restaurant, be punctual. If invited at home, you may be late by 10 minutes or so, it's OK.
  • If invited at home, present a gift to your host. It can be a box of good chocolates, a bottle of good wine or bouquet of flowers etc.
  • Follow the dining table manners. Follow the continental manners.
  • Do not sit down unless requested. The host may indicate the place where to sit.
  • Communicate at a bit formal level unless you are close to the person or have developed personal friendship.
  • Do not lean on table or do not rest your elbows on the table while dining.
  • If invited to a meal at a restaurant, the person extending the invitation usually pays. Do not argue about paying it yourself; you may reciprocate at a later day.
  • Discipline is important. If you you happen to see a queue, always go to the end of it and wait for your turn.
  • Do not use or chew on a toothpick in public.
  • Do not spit any where.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Cross Cultural Etiquette and Manners: USA

United States of America (USA): Etiquette and Manners

(Also refer: for general etiquette and manners, dining etiquette and table manners, for telephone etiquette, for email etiquette)

  • In USA, East Coast is more conservative and formal in their dress and manners than the West Coast.
  • For business meetings, in general, dark colored business suit with white shirt (for less formal meetings light blue shirt) and tie are appropriate. For ladies too, formal attire is recommended. Women should wear a classic suit or dress with jacket. Err on conservative appearance.
  • Wear casual clothes when not attending a business meeting or dinner. Dress should be neat and clean in look. Men may put on comfortably fitting trousers with casual shirts. Wearing jeans or shorts, even in a casual business environment, may be inappropriate. Women may wear comfortably fitting shirts with casual shirts or tops. Again, err on conservative appearance.
  • Wearing jeans or khaki pants or shorts is quite in place outside the business related environment, like visiting malls etc.
  • Punctuality is very important due to the work ethic of USA
  • In USA, generally, honest hard work is valued
  • Business meetings may be over breakfast, lunch or dinner based on appropriateness. Business dinner is also treated as social and rapport building meal
  • Business conversation usually takes place during meals. You may also find good degree of social conversation taking place during the meals.
  • Gifts are discouraged or limited by many US companies. If you wish to give a gift, it should be modest and should never be seen as a bribe. you can send a gracious written note.
  • Discipline is important. If you you happen to see a line or queue, always go to the end of line and wait for your turn.
  • Do not use or chew on a toothpick in public.
  • Do not spit any where
  • Public places and private homes do not allow smoking, most times because of laws preventing smoking. In case you desire to smoke, ask permission. If permission is not given, do not feel offended.
  • On meeting people or on departing, offer a firm handshake, lasting few seconds maintaining eye contact with the person. Good eye contact shows interest, sincerity and confidence.
  • Good friends may briefly embrace. Err on more formal behavior.
  • Introduce as Mr, Ms, Mrs followed by full name.
  • Business cards are generally exchanged during introductions. However, they may be exchanged while leaving.
  • A smile is a sign of friendliness
  • At times, Americans may ask people as to the nature of their profession. In many countries, it may be considered an offensive question- but In USA, it could be a typical starter for conversation.
  • For Americans, a way to establish a connection with people, some times, may be, is to cut jokes, especially about work-related issues. However, do not joke about gender, religion or politics.
  • In USA, it is better not to speak about or show any ethnic and racial inclinations.
  • Follow the road, parking and social hygiene disciplines strictly as per country's requirements.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Cross Cultural Etiquette and Manners

Cross Cultural Awareness

(Also refer: for general etiquette and manners, dining etiquette and table manners and for telephone etiquette)

On these pages we will provide you cross cultural awareness. We will write all about the cross cultural etiquette and manners. They will be useful for:

  • Global travelers
  • Tourists
  • Students going abroad for education
  • Business executives
  • Businessmen
  • Politicians
  • Bureaucrats
  • People from film industry
  • Authors
  • Artists
  • Professionals working for call centers, customer service centers, BPOs, KPOs etc

We will update this site frequently. So, stay tuned.

However, a word of caution.

Cross cultural etiquette and manners given here will serve as broad guidelines. You will agree that we cannot stereotype any culture or people. Every society, country and culture may have numerous nuances and the guidelines given here cannot and will not cover all of them. They will also not be applicable to each and every business or social group in that country.

However, these broad guidelines can be of good help in formulating your basic behavior patterns when you visit other societies, countries or cultures.