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Part of settling in to your new job after an international move is being able to adapt to new business customs. Taking the time to understand the culture and customs of your new country will help with networking and any future business dealings. To not familiarise yourself with these customs you run the risk of offending those you are doing business with by appearing rude and naïve.

We listed some of the cultural norms you can come to expect from around the world:


Brazilians see closeness as a sign of trust and it inspires long term relationships. So do not be surprised by the use of physical contact during conversations. Your normal reaction may be to back away from the physical closeness however you could run the risk of being seen as disrespectful, potentially losing a developing business relationship.


Business is often conducted during meals and as with their office meetings they are formal events. Wait until your host for the evening cues you to eat before you start to enjoy the food in front of you. Meals begin with a lot of toasts, beginning from the host of the meal. If the group is very comfortable with each other it is not uncommon to toast each other in turn.


A culture ruled by structure, German business events are well planned engagements. Do not turn up late to a meeting, even a few minutes will be likely to offend. If you feel that you are going to be late call ahead and explain what has happened. Humour is not acceptable in a business setting. Nor do they expect to or need to complimented.


Try to avoid using the word ‘no’ during business as it is considered rude. It is more acceptable to use a variation of ‘maybe’ even if you want to say no!


Exchanging business cards is a very formal act in Japanese society. It is expected that you will present your card with two hands whilst facing your colleague. Do not slide the card across the table. You must receive business cards with two hands as well and thank them, to use one hand could be seen as a sign of disrespect.

If you would like to find out more about the intercultural support you can receive when you relocate with Crown click here.

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