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Business etiquette from the world, be in the know

When working abroad, there's a good chance that you will have to undergo some kind of meeting now and again.

In sectors like business, it is important that these go well, as you will be representing your company. To highlight how different etiquette can be, we've looked at countries with the most notable customs.


When addressing others taking part in the meeting, in Japan it is customary to bow, and the lower you bow, the more respect you are showing to the person. It is also common for a small gift to be given to senior members of the group.

It is also discourteous to be late, so it is best to make sure you are there around 10 minutes prior. Timekeeping is majorly important neighbouring countries like South Korea, too.

It is also a good idea to agree to dinner or a drink following the meeting, as this is an integral part of Japanese culture. Always accept what is given to you, be it drink or food, even if you don't want it.


Physical contact is very common in Argentina, so don't be alarmed if you are met with a kiss on the cheek before a meeting.

When it comes to gestures, a thumbs up is not looked at in the same light as the country's North American cousins. In fact, it's quite the opposite: it is considered rude, as is doing an OK sign.

If at a meal after, do not attempt to pour someone wine. In this part of the world, the way in which you pour it can symbolise your feelings for the person you're making a drink for. For instance, your left hand indicates bad will.

The way you behave during a meeting can make or break what you are trying to achieve

The way you behave during a meeting can make or break what you are trying to achieve


In terms of gender, it is not usual for a men and women to make human contact when greeting, so do not attempt to shake hands. A slight bow whilst your hands are in a pray position is a more appreciated welcome.

When passing over a sheet remember to do so with your right hand as the left is considered unclean.

When it comes to dinner, refusing food is considered rude and be sure to leave a little bit of your drink left when you don't want anymore as an empty glass demonstrates that you would like it replenished.


Don't turn up looking scruffy to a meeting in Spain. The country's populace generally like to wear smart, chic outfits and dislike shabbiness.

Whereas Japanese keep to a strict time structure, timekeeping is more relaxed in Spain. Be on time, of course, but don't arrive super early.

Also unlike India or Japan, it is acceptable to refuse food or drink as wastage is considered unacceptable.

Remember: when you're in a meeting you're representing your company

Remember: when you're in a meeting you're representing your company

Always research customs and traditions before entering a meeting in a country so a faux pas can be avoided.