5 Things To Know About Business Culture & Etiquette in Australia
Understanding a society’s business culture and etiquette is crucial to conduct your operations successfully and respectfully. If you are not mindful of language, customs, values, and important social norms, you can suffer financial and mental stress running a venture anywhere. Australians are known to be direct, down-to-earth and unpretentious. Their way of doing business, whether small or large, is the same. However, that’s not all, and if you are a business owner or plan to start your own venture, you must know the following information regarding business culture and etiquette.
A Melting Pot
Australia is a multi-cultural society with a significant immigrant population, Aboriginal/Torres Island groups and English/Irish roots. The country has always welcomed migrants and has people from Europe, Asia and North America. This happened after the Australian Government introduced policies to increase the country’s population and workforce.
Inclusivity is essential to run your business well without hurting anyone’s sentiment. Therefore, you have to be mindful of what you say. Avoid stereotyping communities, and ensure you keep your mind open.
Most Australians are modest and straightforward. They give a fair chance to new ideas and remain receptive to working with people they don’t know personally and only meet professionally. To get a good foothold in any industry and maintain cordial relationships with clients, customers, stakeholders or employees – be warm, direct and factual. Avoid boasting, bragging or overselling yourself or your business. Most organisations take into consideration the opinions and inputs of everyone. Therefore, be patient as decisions are slowly reached.
English is used everywhere, as it is the national language. Avoid using slang during meetings, as although Australians have casual greetings, their business communication is formal.
If you want to break the ice, business and markets are the best topics for professional conversations. But for casual conversations, you can talk about the news, weather and sports. Never talk about religions, politics and other controversial topics unless the other person does. Also, navigate away from these topics politely if you are not comfortable as well.
Besides taking note of how you talk and what you talk about, keep your body language confident. Make strong eye contact and maintain an acceptable distance during meetings. Avoid entering people’s personal space and refrain from hugging or kissing people unless they are family or friends. What’s more, keep your arms uncrossed during conversations and avoid overt displays of emotions.
Meetings & Dress Code
Meeting anyone in Australia involves casual interaction and handshaking. Most interactions are easygoing but respectful. You can expect people you are doing business with to call you by your first name, and you can do the same. Depending on your business relationships, you must analyse the situation and be formal or informal accordingly.
During a business meeting, you must present your business card during the introduction. Additionally, always stick to facts and figures.
Dress codes vary from place and business. Beaches and tropical areas have more relaxed dress codes, and you can see people conducting business in printed shirts, shorts, and beach wear. However, in a corporate setting, men and women should wear formal suits and refrain from wearing anything overt.
In many Asian cultures, bringing a gift to a professional meeting is common. However, Australia doesn’t have a gift-giving culture. They are often only exchanged among friends, family and neighbours during special occasions like Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries etc.
If you are having a business dinner at someone’s home, then it is polite to bring a box of chocolates, a bottle of wine, flowers and others. Refrain from giving cash and never get extremely flashy gifts. Also, avoid overspending on gifts or discussing how much they cost in front of anyone. You can offend modest Australians and create a bad impression if you do.
The Bottom Line
To conduct business well in any part of Australia, you must follow the above-mentioned cultural norms and business etiquette. By doing this, you can advance quickly on professional fronts and build solid & loyal connections. Thus, use the insights shared above and other blogs on Regenr8 whether you have an established business you want to expand or start a new venture.