Business in England is doing business in a country with a rich past in world trade. The British Empire was one of the major trading nations in the 18 e century and the first industrialized country on a large scale. For the ambitious international entrepreneur there are absolutely opportunities on the other side of the North Sea. Communicating with the British seems simple; English is usually spoken by most Dutch people. Still, you are not long enough. Especially for you, we have put six tips in order to make a strong impression in England.
British are reluctant in their first contact. It’s best to start a first business conversation with a neutral topic like the weather or an open question. Then you can naturally develop the conversation. Follow the instructions of your interlocutor and avoid subjective or sensitive topics. British are very much concerned with their privacy. It may take a while for you to build a good personal relationship, but in this case, the keeper wins.
In the British business world, much value is attached to written communication. Oral conversations are often summarized in writing, summarizing the agreed details. With a verbal agreement, you will achieve almost nothing in England. Therefore, put all the details of an agreement on paper. You do not have to look strange if your British business partner first checks a contract by a legal expert. This does not mean he does not trust you. It is an example of the British attitude to the proper follow-up of procedures.
Britons strictly divorce business and private. Therefore, you do not need to make any extra personal relationships with your business partner. However, an atmosphere of trust and honesty is indispensable for a good business relationship.
Business gifts are not common. If you want to offer a cautious approach, be careful: an overpriced gift can be seen as bribery, a cheap gift is conceived as an offense. If you are invited for a dinner at your business partner at home, bringing an attention like a bottle of wine is usually common.
Business dress code in England is not limited to a net suit to radiate professionalism. What style and brand that a British professional chooses says a lot about the authority and status he has. Carefully selected silk ties and handmade shoes are not uncommon.
Uniformity also plays a role in the clothing that is worn in the business world. Many companies offer their staff self-suits to create a consistent look. To this ‘uniform’ you can read what kind of company you have to deal with.
Do you doubt what you are doing for a business appointment? You may be better dressed than the risk of making a bad first impression. A suitable outfit will be hired in England with ease, and your effort will be appreciated.
When you have an appointment with a British business partner, make sure you are on time. Your business partner will be very prompt or even present too soon. This does not mean that Britons are in a hurry. On the contrary, time is seen as an expensive means that one wants to be as efficient as possible. It is therefore advisable to plan some time to accommodate any delays, for example in public transport. If you are unexpectedly late for an appointment, please let me know. If it takes more than a few minutes, then bid to reset the appointment.
In the Netherlands we are soon inclined to think that we can speak a good word of English. However, British appreciate it as you communicate as clearly as possible. Thus there is no room for misunderstandings. And the misunderstandings arise soon. Britons tend to weaken their propositions. That’s a little expensive is likely to be too expensive. Additionally, British people have very little knowledge of other languages. You are therefore welcome to enable a professional translator or translator for flawless communication with an English business partner.
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