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Business Etiquette & Do's and Don'ts [InfoGraphic]

Business Etiquette and the Do’s and Don’ts Around Them

Almost every Business Etiquette (or do and don’ts in business) is different in different parts of the world. The question is often: Do we Kiss Bow or Shake Hands (this is actually business etiquettethe title of a book; you can find a list of books here).

The problem is that most cultural do’s and don’ts depend very much on the context. This means that a “Do” can become a “Don’t” when the situation changes (e.g. from formal to informal), even if the people involved remain the same.

For an earlier article I’ve written on do’s and don’ts and on the typical business etiquette, click here.

For instance, most of us who work internationally are familiar with the business etiquette to not give anything with your left hand in many Arab and Asian countries, right (the left hand is often used for cleaning oneself in those countries, hence you don’t use your left hand to pass on something to someone else)?

A Business Etiquette from India

Well, one day I found myself in a situation that I could only use my left hand to give something to someone from India. I knew I should do this, but at that moment there just wasn’t another way to do it.

So what I did was, when I handed this person whatever I was holding, apologize for what I did. I said something like: “Excuse the hand“.  Whereby the Indian looked at me while accepting what I gave, and said: “It’s OK, your left hand is closer to the heart“. We both smiled.

Business Email Etiquette

When it comes to business email etiquette things are different again.

In the US being on a first name basis is very common, even when you’ve never seen a person as you might have when only communicating by email.

The British might be slight more formal when it comes to business email etiquette. In addition, the British tend to “speak” and write is a sort of coded English using all kinds of understatements when communicating.

Countries like France and Germany take their business email etiquette very serious. Calling someone by their first name is not done. At least not for a very long time.

And the list goes on and on where culture has an influence on not only business email etiquette but also on general business etiquette.

The InfoGraphic

Below you is an InfoGraphic that takes you on a trip around the world for lots of common business etiquettes.

However, mind you that they are very contextual, and might change when the situation changes, even if the actors involved remain the same…

business etiquette around the world

Business Etiquette Around The World [Infographic] by the team at
CT Business Travel

Chris Smit

I'm passionate about Cultural Difference. I have been helping organizations save time and money when they work Internationally for the last 19 years. I have had the fortunate opportunity to hold lectures, workshops, and consulting projects on this subject World Wide. It has made me understand my own culture much better, and appreciate the differences around the world.
I have a Master's Degree in Organisational Psychology and have lived in the USA, the Netherlands and, currently, in Belgium.
Thank you!

Chris Smit
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