The etiquette of business as you may know, every day huge business deals are taking place across the world. Everything from small transactions to global acquisitions take place every day.

While there is a large amount of courtesy and etiquette involved in business, almost every country across the world has their own views on this.

Here, we take a look the etiquette of business at the different factors that take place in this article.

Gift-giving at Meetings

If you have an upcoming business meeting and you’d like to give a gift, make sure that you choose an appropriate gift. Otherwise a nice gesture could go completely wrong. Gift-giving is a popular etiquette of business practice in Asia but be careful in other areas of the world, like here in the UK, as it can be misinterpreted as a bribe.

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In China, if you bring a gift to a meeting, it will be well received. For example, Western skincare products are heavily taxed in China, so would be an appreciated gift. But something important to bear in mind is that “saving face” is also important in Eastern cultures. If your gift is very expensive, this could embarrass your Chinese business partner, so try to give a gift that could be easily reciprocated to you. In the same way, in Japan, the gift might be left to be opened later in private to avoid embarrassing you if they don’t like it. So, don’t be offended if they aren’t overcome with excitement and rip it open immediately.

Using both hands and being stood up when presenting gift is important, otherwise it is deemed disrespectful. If exchanging business cards, Read the business card with interest and place it face down next to you on a table if you can.

Courtesy is Key

In Italy, there are often times where lateness or being not being punctual is a regular occurrence. If you have a new Italian business partner and they’re slightly delayed, don’t take this as a dig or doubt their competence, expect flexibility in your deadlines. It’s just not considered a priority in that country — the same goes for Indian business people. Punctuality is considered lightly in comparison to the west.

In Germany, organisation is key — this may be due to their brilliant German mechanics, for example, like present in the Audi A8. Germans tend to be early and organised due to their hardworking ethic. Try not to turn up late to your meeting because this devalues their time and makes it look like you shouldn’t be taken seriously. Meetings often start on the hour so it’s probably best to arrive a few minutes earlier.

Food Etiquette

If it’s a business lunch or dinner you’re going to be attending, make sure your etiquette of business is up to a high standard, and beware of different expectations depending on nationality. If you’re in India, it’s best to avoid eating beef in all circumstances — cows are considered sacred animals. So, ordering a big juicy steak won’t go down well and can be a huge sign of disrespect. Indians don’t eat with cutlery, so get used to eating with your fingers. They don’t shovel food in with the palms of your hands but eat neatly using the tips of your fingers. Always use your right hand, even if you’re left-handed, as the left hand is considered unclean.

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The idea of slurping in the UK is usually considered to be rude at the dinner table — although that is different in China and Japan. It is actually seen as a mark of respect to the chef, declaring that you’re enjoying your meal. Be free and go ahead and drink from the bowl too, because you probably won’t have a spoon. It is considered polite to leave leftovers too, it shows that you’ve been given enough food and are satisfied.

The idea and saying of ‘going Dutch’ in France is none existing— this means you either pay for the meal or accept that someone else will do so. Splitting the bill in France is considered the ultimate sign of un-sophistication.

For useful tips and advice, we’d recommend researching the country you’re going to be visiting thoroughly. Don’t let yourself end up looking like a ‘citron’ in France or ‘limone’ in Italy.