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Business culture in the world

Brazil – country of warm people and carnival

The first association related to Brazil is most commonly the carnival. Most people see this country from this perspective. Although, the carnival in many ways represents the character of the people living in Brazil, on the business plan, things are not so relaxed.

Although Brazil is a country with tropical climate and “constant summer” business dressing is strictly defined and represents suits for men and business costumes for women. The interesting fact related to men’s dressing is the fact that in Brazil, three-part suits are destined for individuals working on executive positions, while two-part suits are characteristic for workers on lower positions. In women, nurtured hands and nails are of specific importance.

Non-verbal communication in Brazil is the best illustration of character and warmth of the people. Touching of hands, back and elbows is very common in communication. Invasions in conversation are considered a sign of enthusiasm and jokes and informalities are a constituent part of the conversation. Conversations usually start informally and sometimes with very personal topics. Brazilians highly appreciate personal relationships before concluding business and it is necessary to invest long-term resources in time and money to ensure successful business negotiations.

In business, the most important person to Brazilians is the one that they are negotiating with. Negotiations most commonly begin with people on lower positions and the executives come in later on. Although a great number of Brazilians fluently speak English, it is a good idea to engage a Portuguese translator later on in the negotiations so that possible misinterpretations could be avoided.

The best possible definition of Brazilian business culture could in the end be the tight bond between the culture and character of the people with strictly defined rules of the modern business world. Different business situations call for a different approach. As Brazil has in the current years become one of the most interesting markets for investors all over the world, it is very important to know the customs and business culture of this country in creating a market advantage and gaining the success you wanted.


Egypt – country of rich history and culture

As one of the biggest and most important civilisations in human history, Egypt is a country that is very intriguing and rich in cultural and historical heritage. The concept of business communication and diplomacy have their roots in Ancient Egypt. It is a country of various cultures, from modern business people to Beduins and traditional Arabs that live in tribal communities and according to the rules of Islam. It is interesting to know that Egyptians consider their country to be the “bridge” between the European west and the Arabic east. For these reasons, business culture in Egypt in very interesting and a complex phenomenon.

Business dressing in Egypt is very different when it comes to men and women. Although it is expected from you to respect the local rules in dressing it is not considered acceptable for foreigners to dress in the same way as the local people. Men are expected to wear suits with ties to business meetings and to have long pants and long-sleeved shirts in every occasion. Women are expected to be dressed conservatively in every occasion and that there hands, shoulders and legs are covered. Cleavages and attractive clothes are considered unacceptable and offensive.

The culture of behaviour in Egypt is also closely linked to sex differences. In Arabic culture it is custom for members of the same sex to be much closer in their communication than in the Western countries. Stepping away from your the person you are talking to is a sign of mistrust. Members of the opposite sex on the other hand, stand further away from each other while communicating then is custom in the Western countries. Sitting with your legs crossed is considered offensive as well as showing the bottom of your shoe. Smoking in public is a regular practice and if you smoke it is considered polite to offer cigarettes to your partners in communication.

Considering the language and the culture, communication is one of the most interesting aspects of Egyptian business culture. Names are often confusing and it is wise to know and learn the names before the meeting so that you would not be in an embarrassing situation when getting acquainted. Arabic language is read from right to left so books and magazines start with the last page. Most business conversations are held in English or French. Expect interferences in the meeting whether visitations from other people or telephone calls; it is an essential part of the Egyptian culture.

Egypt is one of the most interesting countries in the world that due to its long-lasting history and culture attracts millions of tourists from all over the world on a daily basis. In the business sense, it is a country of great potentials and business possibilities. Knowing the culture and rules of business communication in this country is a great advantage in achieving the desired goals and successful business.


India – land of tradition and versatilities

When we talk about India, one of the first things we will mention is surely the size and the number of inhabitants as well as the presence of various cultures and traditions. India is one of the largest countries in the world as well as a country that is showing extraordinary economic potential and interest of foreign investors in the past few years. Business culture in India represents a combination of tradition and western business rules and is a s such, depending on the part of India we are talking about, a very complex and important phenomenon.

Business dressing in India for men means suits while for women the rules are more strict. From women it is expected, independently of the season or the situation, to cover certain parts of their bodies such as chest, legs back and shoulders. One of the interesting facts in Indian business dressing is wearing products made of leather such as handbags or belts. Cow is a sacred animal to the members of the Hindu religion and wearing a product made of cow leather is considered highly offensive. For this reason, it is smarter not to risk but rather to avoid wearing of leather products on business meetings with Indian partners.

Business culture in India gives great importance to behaviour because it is deeply a part of their tradition and Indians believe that behaviour shows the character of the person they are talking to. The head is in India considered to be “the centre of the soul” and it is therefore unacceptable to touch people on the head, even when it comes to children. Never turn your feet towards someone; feet are considered unclean and in case you accidentally touch someone with your feet or shoes, apologize. During the conversation, do not hold your hands on your hips or point your finger while talking; Indians consider this as an expression of an angry and aggressive attitude and you could get the opposite results.

Gift giving is one of the most interesting phenomenons in the Indian business culture. Remember that in India gifts are never opened in the presence of the person that is giving the gift; so, if you get a gift, say thank you, put it aside and wait for the person to leave. Remember also that Indians prefer business lunches over dinners and that Hindu members do not eat beef and Muslims pork.

Try to avoid the word “NO” in communication. This word is in India considered a rude rejection and it is better to change it with the expression “I will try” which shows polite decline. Titles are very important so always use professional titles in communication.

India is one of the most interesting countries in the world, as a tourist and a business destination. For business success in this country it is therefore key to know the rules well as well as certain tricks that can be of great assistance and help you in achieving the desired results.


Italy – country of fashion and tempered people

Design, art, architecture, temperament, all of these are expressions that associate us to Italy. It is a country of rich history and culture and very warm and tempered people. In the business world, it is one of the leading countries when it comes to fashion, automobile and leather industry. It is the centre where new market trend are created. For this very reason, Italy is a very important and interesting business country.

Being that Italy is a country of fashion, business dressing is one of the key elements of business communication. The Italians are visual people and above all they appreciate fashion and design and specifically creativity and quality. Men are expected to dress in modern suits and for tie to match the colour of the shirt and women are expected to dress in elegant clothes that look luxurious. Accessories such as jewellery, handbags and shoes are desirable and leave a good impression with Italians.

Behaviour in the business world is tightly related to the temperament of these people. The saying “Time is money” cannot be attached to Italy. Still, it is expected of business partners to be on time. Do not expect fast decisions or solutions, the Italian legal system and bureaucracy are very slow.

It is custom for everyone to speak at the same time even on business meetings, so do not be surprised. Never exchange business cards in social occasions that is an activity reserved only for business meetings. It is highly offensive to ask a person you just met what they do. On meetings, special attention is always given to the oldest person that is present in the room.

As for gift giving, flowers must always come in an even number, and if we are talking about roses, 12 or 6. Luxurious chocolates and desserts are also a great gift. If you are giving a wine, it should be of great quality and year because many Italians are very well acquainted with the wines. Never give anything in the number 17, that number is considered unlucky and damned. In social occasions, avoid topics such as religion, politics and Second World War. Good conversation topics are Italian culture, art, food, wine, family and film.

Italy is a modern country with a developed business world and vast variety of industries. In the business world it function similarly to most western countries with equal rules. Still, temperament and history play an important role in business communication in this country and it is therefore desirable to know them as to feel comfortable and achieve greater results.


China – the fastest growing economy in the world

China is one of the oldest civilisations. It is a country of rich history and tradition and the largest population in the world. In the last 20 years China became one of the leading global economies and has a yearly growth that is not comparable with any other country. For that reason, it is an advantage to know the Chinese business culture.

Business dressing in China is best described as conservative. Men are expected to come to meeting in suits in neutral colours, women are expected to wear business suits or costumes that cover the legs, arms and cleavage. It is interesting to know that women should avoid high heels to avoid the risk of being taller then their Chinese partners.

Business communication is closely related to traditional and conservative Chinese culture. Mimics and facial expressions while talking are considered offensive and should be avoided in communication. Personal contact should be avoided at any price. It is highly inappropriate for a man to touch a woman in public. In case of business lunch remember that you never talk about business during the meal. It is very important that you try every meal that is offered to you in order not to offend the host as well as to leave something on your plate so that the hosts would not think that you are still hungry. It is not recommended for women to drink during the meals.

Gift giving is very interesting and sensitive phenomenon in China. It is illegal to give any gifts to members of the Government or state. Watches, handkerchiefs, white, blue and black colour are associated with death and should be avoided. Good quality pens are considered to be a good gift.

Communication in Chinese business world is a combination of traditional customs and modern standards. When greeting allow your host to give you his hand first or to bow that is a custom in China and do the same in return. Use official titles. Set up meetings in advance and punctuality is crucial for success. It is important to remember that the Chinese value rank and title above all and always send people who are highly ranked to meetings with the Chinese.

China is one of the biggest and economically most interesting countries in the world. The competition is rising on a daily basis and it comes from all over the world. For that reason, it is important to know Chinese business communication culture which can sometimes be the key factor in establishing a good cooperation.


Russia – land of hierarchy and business opportunities

When mentioning Russia the first thing that comes to our mind is cold weather and strict attitude. In a lot of ways these two associations define the business culture of Russia. Russians are one of the most professional business people on the planet. They above all value seriousness and detail in business and negotiations in conversations as well as communication with partners. They use very little facial expressions and consider loud talking and laughing impolite. One of the interesting facts is shaking hands. The Russians never shake at the doorstep because it is considered rude and it brings bad luck.

At acquaintance and name usage, it is necessary to remember that the Russians have three names: first name, family name and surname and all three are used in acquaintance. Presentations of business plans have to be detailed and everything has to have a written form. The Russians do not believe oral deals. Successful business negotiations are possible only with the partners in executive functions; do not waste time on lower and middle management they have no decision right. The concept of compromise does not exist. It is a sign of weakness and do not expect to see it. Patience is the key factor in negotiations with the Russians.

Business dressing in Russia is in accordance with the business policy. Men are expected to wear suits and never to have their hands in pockets and women to prefer business skirts. Luxurious clothes are valued and rank the business partner on a higher level.

From everything stated we can conclude that doing business in Russia is a very defined and professional process that demands high level of preparation and patience. Getting into the market of Russia is a challenge. It is therefore crucial to know the rules of the business communication in Russia.

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