Essay: Business dress in different countries – France, India, USA, Switzerland

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  • Published on: November 28, 2015
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  • Business dress in different countries - France, India, USA, Switzerland
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‘ Business dress is understated and stylish.
‘ Men should wear dark-coloured, conservative business suits for the initial meeting. How you dress later is largely dependent upon the personality of the company with which you are conducting business.
‘ Women should wear either business suits or elegant dresses in soft colours.
‘ The French like the finer things in life, so wear good quality accessories.
‘ Flowers should be given in odd numbers but not 13, which is considered unlucky.
‘ If you give wine, make sure it is of the highest quality you can afford. The French appreciate their wines.
‘ Gifts are usually opened when received.
‘ If invited to a large dinner party, especially in Paris, send flowers the morning of the occasion so that they may be displayed that evening.
‘ Dress well. The French are fashion conscious and their version of casual is not as relaxed as in many western countries.
‘ If you do not speak French, an apology for not knowing their language may aid in developing a relationship.
‘ Business cards are exchanged after the initial introductions without formal ritual.
‘ Have the other side of your business card translated into French. Although not a business necessity, it demonstrates an attention to detail that will be appreciated.
‘ Include any advanced academic degrees on your business card.
‘ French business cards are often a bit larger than in many other countries.
‘ Men are generally expected to wear a suit and tie for business, although the jacket may be removed in the summer. Women should wear conservative dresses or pantsuits.
‘ When dressing casual, short-sleeved shirts and long pants are preferred for men; shorts are acceptable only when exercising. Women must keep their upper arms, chest, back, and legs covered at all times.
‘ Women should wear long pants when exercising.
‘ The use of leather products including belts or handbags may be considered offensive, especially in temples. Hindus revere cows and do not use leather products.
‘ Never point your feet at a person. Feet are considered unclean. If your shoes or feet touch another person, apologize.
‘ Gifts are not opened in the presence of the giver. If you receive a wrapped gift, set it aside until the giver leaves.
‘ Business lunches are preferred to dinners. Hindus do not eat beef and Muslims do not eat pork.
‘ The word “no” has harsh implications in India. Evasive refusals are more common, and are considered more polite. Never directly refuse an invitation, a vague “I’ll try” is an acceptable refusal.
‘ Do not thank your hosts at the end of a meal. “Thank you” is considered a form of payment and therefore insulting.
‘ Titles are very important. Always use professional titles.
United States of America
‘ Believe in freedom of choice.
‘ You must be over the age of 21 and you must have an
‘ Identification card with a photo to buy or drink alcohol.
‘ In most states, it is illegal to buy cigarettes if you are under the age of 18 and often you can only smoke in certain places.
‘ Americans are extremely informal and call most people by their first name or nickname.
‘ Never ask Americans a direct question about their religion, age, money, salary, weight, or dress/suit size.
‘ Domestic violence is against the law. It is illegal to hit anyone a spouse, a parent, a child, and even a pet.
‘ Asking ‘How are you’? is simply a greeting and is not a question about your health.
‘ Time is money. Never be late to classes, employment interviews, appointments, parties etc.
‘ The hand shake is the most common greeting. You should always shake hands upon both meeting and departing.
‘ Some Swiss colleagues may kiss and/or embrace each other, depending on the closeness of their relationship.
‘ You should not kiss or embrace a colleague until you know your relationship has grown to that level and it is welcomed.
‘ It is important to show special consideration to the elderly.
‘ Bad behavior is likely to cause offence so do not drop litter, walk against a red light, make excessive noise late on Saturday evenings, or wash your car or mow your lawn on Sunday mornings.
‘ Do not bring up topics such as Switzerland’s role during World Wars I and II, the Swiss military, money and Swiss banks, or any personal question.

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