Unusual business etiquette around the world that Might Surprise You!


 Every one of us will find ourselves in a job at some point in our lives. It doesn't matter if you're self-employed or employed by an organization. In both scenarios, we may be required to meet with our clients, who may include worldwide brains. The basis of a company's profit is meeting with clients to understand their needs and reach a mutually beneficial agreement. Thus, having a successful meeting with the client is highly important, to impress them and crack a business deal.

Business not only depends on the way you carry yourself. In a number of ways, business entails differences. Cultural differences may be the primary cause of this discrepancy. So, before you prepare for a global business meet, know their culture and habit. Here are few business etiquette and tips to learn about your clients around the world.


  • For greetings, shake hands firmly but it is bad luck to shake hands by a doorway. Remove gloves if you wear for it might be taken as rude.
  • To break the ice, you can show photographs of your children or family as Russians are very affectionate and fond of children.
  • Russians appreciate and expect their foreign clients to speak in their language. So, try learning partially or in bits.
  • Avoid placing hands in your pockets when you converse.
  • Never speak too loudly in a meet.
  • When a business meet is scheduled, Russians feel free to show up for business meetings as late as they desire. They do this in purpose to test the patience of their business partners. But you dare not be late.


  • Chinese are very particular about personal space. Never go straight for a hug, slap them on the back or tough their arm.
  • Never click your fingers and blow your nose with a handkerchief. It is often considered impolite.
  • As part of a business deal, it’s not a surprise to have a gift as part of the welcoming or appreciation. However, in China, it is mandatory that you carry gifts when you are invited for business deal or personal meet. But don’t expect the clients would receive it eagerly. Because the customary tradition in China is that the gifts are refused up to three times before being accepted. Gifts with extensive cultural meaning will impress. Do not wrap it with white or black papers; strictly stick with red.
  • It is customary that while you offer your business card or receive it, do it with both hands. And never write anything on it.
  • If you have any business proposals or handouts for the clients, type it in black. Never write or type in red since red ink is a symbol of protest or criticism.
  • If taken for a dining by the professionals, make sure you sit according to the seniority and after you are introduced.


  • In United Arab Emirates, it is important to eat and shake hands with right hand only.
  • While greeting, you just greet the elder person first and then work down through the seniority.
  • While you offer or receive something like a business document, do it with your right hand. The left hand is considered unclean. Using the left hand to do any of these activities would be a serious insult to the counters.

  • You must be cautious of the dress codes. Be formal and the dressing should be in such a way that any of the body parts must not be revealing.
  • While exchanging gifts in a business deal, avoid exchanging it across genders. If you have to offer it to your opposite gender, it is best to have a person of that gender on your side to present it.


  • Handshake is the formal way of greeting. Use a brisk and light handshake.
  • French people are always known for their discipline and appearance. It is advisable that you always dress properly. It is better to be formal than too casual.

  • Do not give anything with the number 13 as a business offer. It is a bad luck to French people!
  • It is usual for them to open a gift when offered from their business partners. They never mistake it if their clients do the same.
  • When you provide your business cards, it always shows respect for them when you have one side of your business card printed in French and the other in your native tongue.
  • They do not plan meetings in short notice. So, plan the schedule of the meeting two weeks earlier.
  • In French conversation style, it is considered as a sign of approach when a talk is interrupted. In other countries, it might be inappropriate or a sign of disrespect, but in France, it’s simply a way to express your interest in their conversation.


  • While meeting a Korean client, it is better that you bow first than a handshake. However, the younger should always bow deeper.
  • Meetings are generally scheduled in the mid-morning or mid-afternoon, without cutting into anyone’s lunchtime.
  • Business gifts must not be strictly wrapped in green, white, or black color papers.
  • Never write or sign your business deals in red ink.
  • In a business meet, it is natural that you would be taken for a meal. In that case, ensure that the eldest or the senior boss eats first. Drinking is a major part of their culture. But if you have any religious reasons or just not a fan of alcohol, be honest with them.


  • Use only formal greetings like ‘Mr., Ms., Ma’am or Mrs.’
  • British is known for their punctuality. Never run late.
  • You are allowed to dress in casuals but keep it smart.

  • A sense of humor is always maintained and expected in a meet to keep communication calm, professional and mostly free of conflict.
  • If a British person starts tapping their nose, it indicates that the conversation is considered confidential. It is important to look for that signal.
  • Corporate gift-giving is not encouraged in Britain unless it’s a ‘thank you’ gift. Moreover, such gifts must not be expensive; just symbolic items like pens, diaries or bags would do.
  • If you are being invited to your senior’s home after the meet, it is always received well if you arrive with flowers, chocolate or wine.


  • Bowing is extremely important as that is the way you should greet your business clients.
  • The business card is held in very high regard in Japan, so when handing them out, offer in both hands, Japanese side facing up.
  • Similarly, when you receive a business card, you should accept it with both hands and thank them without fail.
  • Avoid pointing fingers, feet or even chopsticks while gesturing as they are considered highly rude in Japan.
  • Japanese believe in the concept of ‘saving face.’ So never correct one’s mistake in the meeting. Do it in private after the meet.


  • Punctuality is not a big deal nor a priority for Italians.
  • Clothing is a very major aspect of a business meet as they expect their clients to wear stylish clothes even if the dress code in Italy is casual. They generally look for their brand clothes i.e., Italian-made clothes in a business stage like Missoni, Gucci, Armani etc.,
  • As French, Italians too expect the business card to hold a translation of their language on one side.
  • Don’t present gifts unless you are accepted and presented one. Even then, never give a gift with your company logo or brand.
  • In Italian business culture, refusing an invitation to dine is an insult. Usually, it takes up to two or three hours.
  • Never talk about money in the beginning of a business conversation as it is a delicate topic for Italians. Talk about it once the business deal is done.
Learn all these cultural codes and differences before you get ready for a business meet. What’s right for you might not be right for other; what’s polite for you might appear rude to someone else in the other part of the world. Because at the end of the day, you need a successful deal to run your business.

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