Global Business Etiquettes

With our businesses venturing into new markets, international travel is going to be an exciting phase. However, as you start interacting more with foreign clients, you soon realize that manners and gestures differ and carry varying interpretations. Now that it’s trendy for meetings to occur during lunchtime, you can’t afford to disregard behavioral norms for introductions or dining. The first impression you create will influence the meeting flow and therefore, you need to discerningly handle yourself to get the most out of the deal.

A little bit of understanding of the culture you’re engaging with will help you make others feel comfortable, avoid embarrassing situations, and better relate to their way of doing business. I orient you towards a few cultural etiquettes you need to pay attention to in leading countries across the globe.


Hospitality is a way of life in the UAE and it’s common for meetings to occur in restaurants. Be mindful of religious sentiments and avoid ordering alcohol or pork. Emiratis wish ‘assalamu alaikum’, and refer to people by their first names. Islamic traditions encourage the exchange of sweets or dates to maintain relations. Men greet with a handshake; however, it’s best to avoid any bodily contact with Muslim women. As far as attire is concerned, modest dress is expected at work.


The Chinese affix great importance to punctuality and follow a hierarchical order when entering meetings. It’s typical to greet with a bow and nod of head, though handshakes are also common. Guests are addressed with a title followed by the surname (Ex Mr. Zhang). At the end of meetings gifts are exchanged. Chinese stick to a formal dress code with darker shades of suits for business settings


Having the world’s most advanced infrastructure, the Japanese expect you to arrive dot on time. During meetings, senior members steer discussions while younger members speak less out of respect. People greet each other by bowing and business cards are presented using both hands. One must pay special attention to wrapping gifts before presenting them in the meeting. A formal dress code is appreciated with neutral-colored suits and hair neatly put back.


Germans are extremely punctual, and even a few minutes delay isn’t acceptable. People use handshakes to greet one another. Meeting discussions are brief to the point, focused on facts, and no off-topic talks are entertained. With more concentration on the actual business and less on formalities, giving gifts is highly discouraged. Appearance is highly valued by Germans, who take great pride is being well-dressed, regardless of the position they hold.


With time respected, punctuality is a requisite in Britain. Almost everyone arrives dot on time or even a few minutes earlier. A firm handshake is a usual way of greeting and giving gifts is rare as several company policies forbid their acceptance. Personal space is highly valued by the British, so it’s good to maintain a distance while conversing. Business clothing is conservative, with both men and women going in for dark-colored suits.

If you are uncertain about local customs and cultural differences in certain countries you’re traveling to, you could research a whole lot of information online before you fly. Besides, getting to know international cultures is interesting too.

I hope this article gave you useful insight into the business etiquette followed in these countries. Carrying these tips with you might come in handy to close business deals, pursue an international career or simply have a rewarding experience on your foreign trip.