Business Card Etiquette: Navigating Professional Interactions

Business Card Etiquette: Navigating Professional Interactions – You’ve just applied for a really nice internship in China, and your potential manager wants to meet you in person in a city that’s easy for both of you to go to. They were impressed with your resume and really liked how you handled your first Skype interview. But you don’t know how to handle a business lunch with someone from a completely different culture. Does this scenario sound familiar? If so, you’ll probably want to keep reading and learn more about how to behave (and not behave) in a business context in different countries. The first aspect you might want to pay attention to is the way you introduce yourself. This is probably the most important aspect of the entire business meeting. The old adage “you never get a second chance to make a first impression” is very true. The first impression you make on the person in front of you will most likely affect the rest of the meeting. That’s why it’s important to know the right way to introduce yourself, depending on the country you’re in and the person you’re talking to. This goes hand in hand with your overall demeanor throughout the meeting. Nowadays, it is very trendy for recruiters to have business meetings or interviews during lunch. It’s the way they judge you. That’s why you don’t want to forget the dining etiquette of the country you’re in. Let’s look at the above points country by country. Australia Business meetings in Australia require a firm handshake and a sharp dress code. There are no restrictions on business cards and you can address the person in front of you by their first name. Brazil The handshake must be firm and you should address the person in front of you as “Senhor X” or “Senhora X”. The dress code must be clear, but there are no special rituals for handling business cards. In terms of dining etiquette, you should know that meals are usually quite long, in fact lunch can last over 2 hours. Canada In Canada, the handshake must also be firm, but you can use the first name of the person speaking. Here too, the dress code needs to be sharp, but don’t worry too much about giving and receiving business cards. Denmark Here the handshake must be firm and you should address your colleague as “Herr X” or “Fru X”. The dress code should be clear, but there is no right or wrong way to handle business cards. One tip that can be helpful when eating in Denmark is that people expect you to finish everything on your plate. France In France, a handshake can be easy, but you should always address the person you are talking to as “Monsieur X” or “Madame X”. Here again, the dress code needs to be clear, but there is no right or wrong way to handle business cards. It is important to emphasize that a good conversation starter can apologize for not speaking French. Germany Business meetings in Germany are quite similar to French, except that your handshake should be firm and the correct way to address the person in front of you is “Herr X” or “Frau X”. Hong-Kong (China) In Hong Kong (China), handshakes should be light, business cards should be given and received with both hands, dress should be sharp, and the best way to address someone is “Mr. X” or “Mrs. X”. As for dining etiquette, in Hong Kong (China) it is considered rude to start eating before the host does. India It is recommended to combine a firm handshake with “Namaste”, address the interlocutor as “Mr. X” or “Ms. X”, wear a sharp style of clothing and finally handle business cards with both hands and respectfully (i.e. do). do not put the received card in the back pocket of your pants). When traveling to India, remember that you should only use your right hand to eat. Ireland Here it looks very similar to Germany, the only difference is that in Ireland you can address the person speaking by their first name. Israel If you ever find yourself in a business context in Israel, make sure of three things: that your handshake is firm, that you address the person you are talking to as “Mr. X” or “Ms. X” and finally, that you treat business cards with respect (you should take them with both hands and put in a way that shows you respect the person in front of you). Japan In Japan, you should go for a light handshake and greet the interlocutor with his last name, followed by “san” (this is expressed the same for both men and women). You should wear a clear dress code and handle business cards with both hands. New Zealand Business in New Zealand is exactly the same as in the UK. (see below) Russia/Spain/Switzerland/UK Business meetings in the above countries are subject to the same requirements as in Germany. It is important to highlight the fact that excessive smiling can be perceived as insincere in Russia. In addition, in Russia, one should not start drinking when eating with someone until the first toast is offered. Another eating tip, this time for Switzerland, is to never cut potatoes with a knife, but with a fork. Finally, when traveling to the UK you should remember that ‘tea’ and ‘dinner’ can have different meanings in different countries. Singapore A business meeting in Singapore requires a firm handshake, the use of both hands to give and receive business cards, and accepts a casual dress code. It is important to note that greetings in Singapore depend on who you are meeting. When meeting Chinese people, you should address them as “Mr X” or “Mrs X”; but if you meet Malays or Indians, you should use the words “Mr X” or “Ms X” South Korea and Taiwan In both countries, you should shake hands lightly and address the person in front of you as “Mr X” or “Ms X”. “Mrs X”. It is recommended to have a clear dress code and handle all business cards with both hands. As for Korea, be prepared to sing a solo karaoke number after your meal. If you are going to Taiwan, whether for business or pleasure, remember that you are expected to leave a bowl of rice. Sweden In Sweden, your handshake must be firm, but you can call a person by their first name, wear a casual dress code, and not worry about how you handle business cards. In terms of dining etiquette, you should look the person you’re toasting in the eye and say “sk├ól” [skohl] United Arab Emirates In the UAE, the handshake must be firm and the dress code sharp. You need to be careful when issuing your business card, making sure that you only use your right hand. To address a person, you can use their first name prefixed with “Sayed” or “Sayeda”. When traveling to the UAE, remember that you should only use your right hand to eat. United States Business meetings in the US are quite similar to those in Canada, the only difference being that you can choose to dress business-like or more casually. Be sure to keep these tips handy because you never know when they might come in handy! By: Chiara Eckenschwiller – Undergraduate student

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Business Card Etiquette: Navigating Professional Interactions

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