British Business Etiquette

Internationally speaking, it pays to think globally and act locally. When travel abroad, it pays to learn and the people and culture you’re doing business with. You don’t want to come across as rude or misunderstood. Here are some tips for people visiting and doing business in the UK.

UK Facts: The United Kingdom is made up of Great Britain & Northern Ireland. Great Britain consists of England, Scotland, and Wales. Great Britain is at times simply called Britain for short, though technically Britain refers only to England and Wales. The largest part of the population of the UK consists mostly of White Anglo-Saxon Protestants.

British accents: Though English is the language, accents can and do ndicate where people are from, education, and/or class.

British slang and special terms:
Even though American’s and Brits speak English, they have their own way of expressing words. Afters – desserts and sometimes referred to as pudding; bloody – damned; bobby – policeman; ground floor – first floor; intercourse – friendly dialogue; in the club – pregnant; one stone – 14 pounds; row – argument; serviette – napkin; thick – dumb; brolly – umbrella; lorry – truck; loo – toilet.

How the Brits view themselves:
Civilized, well-mannered, well educated. They are generally down to earth and understanding, cool, detached, often hard to read, and very class-conscious people.

Business Meetings:
Britain is still very much a man’s world, but with the coming of new generations a shift is indeed coming. For example, working women are new entitled to 18 weeks of maternity leave, 8 weeks more than the women of the US. Women constitute more than half the work force makeing them visible in many fields.

Be different but efficient. Don’t rush, never dictate, and don’t make presumptions. The Brits like facts. They are formal. Small talk is okay but don’t be too casual. When people ask questions and make comments, take notes.

Concluding the meeting:
It’s up to you on how to close a meeting. Seeming reluctance to end a meeting in the UK may simply be show of courtesy. End meetings without out being too abrupt.