Business Etiquette

As we all come into contact with non-Scandinavian clients and colleagues, it is worthwhile being aware of the rules (many unwritten) that can (if broken) cause misunderstanding and – worse case scenario- lose a client.

I had not really thought about all the pitfalls until I read the PIPA conference notes*. The Opening session by Carole Attwood dealt with this topic. (reported by Vicki Page-Clark).

Carole listed three key elements – Appearance, Behaviour and Communication.

Appearance comes back to respect for others – dress for the environment and the occasion and remember the cultural differences – for instance people dress far more formally in Germany and the UK for business meetings than in Denmark.

Behaviour – Meeting and greeting – do you go continental and kiss on the cheek? Which? Do you hug? Shake hands?  If you misjudge the situation – acknowledge it and move on.

Communication is one off those areas where cultural differences really can make or break that vital ‘first impression’ – so the advice given is do your homework before going to the meeting.

Inspired by all this I had a look on the web and was amazed at how much has been written about the topic. I particularly liked the straight-forward and lucid way the topic is handled at ravenwerks

And – as usual – became diverted by reading about the wealth of traps waiting for the unwary. I also found a quiz  on dealing with those tricky social gatherings……

Do you have any interesting etiquette observations which could be of benefit to the rest of us?

*Pipe.line 2007 August (13): 7-8