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Business etiquette is an integral part of different countries' business culture. It encompasses the accepted code of thoughtful behavior in specific societies and can be thought of as the prescriptive element of culture. Being aware of these elements can therefore help us understand expectations, as well as avoid doing or saying the wrong things during a business encounter. We have visited three parts of the world, to take a look at different traditions for conducting business.

Business Etiquettes

Singapore is a multi-ethnic society comprising Chinese, Malay, Indian and Eurasian communities. In most cases, one will encounter Singaporean Chinese as business partners, since they make up the majority of the population. For most business partners in Singapore, greetings are formal and most commonly done with a handshake and a slight bow. Business cards are usually exchanged using both hands. Further, one should ensure that the card is turned toward the receiver.

In Denmark, lunch is the most common meal during which to conduct business negotiations and is usually served from noon to 2 pm. Even if the Danes do tend to get straight down to business in meetings, it is still appropriate to start the meeting with about 10 minutes of informal conversation. Humor is an essential element of everyday living and to many Danes, humor comes with irony. This may be difficult for many foreigners to appreciate, but it is absolutely essential if you want to understand the Danish mentality. To maintain credibility, it is also important for actions to be followed up on and completed in the agreed-upon time frame. Many executives will be impressed by a prompt follow-up on actions discussed in a meeting.

Business Etiquettes
Business Etiquettes

In the United States, business attire differs between regions, so make sure to double-check before you go. A general rule is that the East tends to be more formal than the West. In general, social conversations in the United States are light. There is a standard format for small talk. People ask brief questions and expect brief answers. Some Americans become uncomfortable when a person talks too long in social situations. Another essential aspect of social etiquette is that speaking loudly on the phone is considered rude, even when outside. Only speak as loudly as you need to for the other person to hear you. Finally, making eye contact is considered respectful, especially when greeting someone and shaking his or her hand.
We sometimes forget that business is about people. But when thinking about it, many choose to collaborate with, work for, or buy from someone who has high standards of professional business behavior. Making an effort to learn about the cultural etiquette of one’s business partners can therefore make all the difference.

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