Despite living in a single planet, people around the world are divided based on their race, nationality, traditions, and customs. There is no right or wrong way to do things. Thus, being sensitive to a country’s values and tradition is something that is expected from an individual, especially those in the business industry.
Part of having good relations with foreign partners is being able to understand and respect their ways of doing business. Business etiquette in the United Kingdom is not as complicated as that from other countries. However, it is important to note differences.
Food hampers being delivered in your clients’ office might be a sign of good gesture from the country you are from, but is not really something practised in the UK. Learn about the common business etiquettes in the UK to know how to navigate your way through the field and the country’s culture.
It is a common notion that businessmen value their time, a lot! This is because having 24-hours in a day is not enough for most. However, some cultures are more relaxed when it comes to being punctual. But not for the Brits.
Punctuality is very important in business. Informing the person you will be meeting that you will be late for a couple of minutes ahead of time is standards.
As mentioned, giving gifts is not really common and can be interpreted differently depending on the person you are giving it to. However, this does not mean you cannot show your gratitude to someone. Inviting one for dinner at your home, or a round of drinks is usually an effective way to show your appreciation.
However, if you are the one invited to a colleague’s place, then, bringing a gift, usually, wine or food hampers can be done.
Wearing business attires like trousers or skirts for women, and slacks for men, are common in a British business setting. Neutral colours like black, grey and dark blue are also commonly worn. It is normal for a person in the business industry to wear designer clothes and shoes as it is a sign of status and affluence.
Casual clothing and denim are usually a big no, but it all depends on the industry you work in. It is also common for companies to issue a standard uniform, allowing all their employees to look as formal as possible.
If you are unsure of what to wear when going to a meeting or attending a function, it is best to be “overdressed” than risk being looked down upon.
Sending thank you notes and cards are very common in the country. If you are invited for dinner at home, in a restaurant, or had a round of drinks, sending a simple thank you note after the invitation will suffice in showing your appreciation.
Being sensitive and knowledgeable with common business etiquettes is important in helping one not just have a good impression, but also help one have a better understanding of the country’s culture.