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Businesses in United Kingdom.

Updated: Mar 7, 2022

Are you in the United Kingdom and do not know how to behave in a business meeting? This post may be the solution to your problem. Throughout this article, we will give you some tips to success in the British business environment.

To begin with, you have to keep in mind that the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is formed by four countries: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. It is extremely recommended that you use the right nationality term: English, Welsh, Scottish, and Northern Irish respectively, in order of not making an offence to your counterparts.

The personal space is highly important for them. You should respect their privacy and give them the necessary space they need. Do not interfere in their personal life or become too close from the beginning. Not only you should avoid invade their personal space in the topics you choose to talk about, but in the physical space too. Not to give unnecessary contact and apologize if it happens would be highly recommended. For that reason, making friendships with British people may be a long-time task.

They also appreciate politeness. Do not expect them to give the negative feedback straight away, you may need to read between lines. It is important that you give your message in a clear way, with no second reading. It is also considered unpolite to arrive late.

To greet someone, you ought to shake hands making eye contact with the other person. Do not greet them with a kiss. Corporal expression is important to keep in mind too. Try to avoid extravagant hand gestures and do not backslap or hug strangers.

The dress code of the UK is generally a conservative look. However, it depends on the sector. In creatives and younger companies, as well as in start-ups, smart casual is usually allow by their employees unless they are meeting a client. On the other hand, in more traditional sectors, such as the financial one, they prefer their employees to dress in a strict and conservative look. In case of doubt, we highly recommend you dress in a conservative style: dark suit for man and dark suit or conservative dress for women.

Meetings always have a clear purpose, which may include an agenda. Usually, before getting down to the business, there is a brief amount of small talk, in which you can talk about the weather, traffic, and topics alike. Be prepared to back up your claims, as British rely on facts to make decisions, they may ask you to justify what you are saying.

During the meetings, there are some behaviours you should avoid, such as resting your elbows on the table, staring, being overly familiar with people you do not know well, asking personal questions, speaking too loudly, or cutting into conversations. Remember to call everyone by their last names and their formal titles: Mr. if man, Mrs. If marry woman, and Miss if single woman. Moreover, humour is really important. They appreciate that the humour is dry, witty and a bit self-deprecating. To be able to laugh of oneself is significant. Business cards are given at the end of them.

To end up with, British are conservative, formal and private people. Those characteristics along side with their perseverance and open mind would make it easier to do business with them.

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