Canadian Business Etiquette
It is known that people from Canada are a polite society and slightly more reserved than their neighbors to the South. The values of this country are greatly respected with peace and a good government. To “fit in” you must treat all people with courtesy and respect, but do not act too humble. This article will provide information on how to secure a deal or avoid offending a business colleague by learning the basics of Canadian business etiquette.
1. Meeting And Greeting
Firm handshakes are considered the typical contact when meeting a business associate for both males and females; however, women may acknowledge you with a nod of the head instead of a handshake. Shaking hands is also used in social situations when people are meeting for the first time. Men and women embrace and kiss on the cheek if related on good friends, and males may embrace formally if they are friends or family.
In Quebec, a friend or acquaintance will kiss the other person on either cheek. This occurs between females, between males and females, but not between males exclusively.
If you are meeting the person in an informal setting, the majority of people will simply exchange the greeting “hello” or “how are you?”
Introductions are based on business rank and not on gender. In Canada, a person’s level of authority relates directly to their position or responsibility. Females occupying the same range of positions as males have the same kind of authority. This means that the person does not have authority because of their status, name, social class or gender.
3. Additional Tips
More behavior to consider when engaging in business interactions and life in general, is the issue of eye contact. Eye contact is important when conducting business and should be held when speaking to someone; however, you must not stare. A lack of direct eye contact can indicate boredom or disinterest.
Casual touching during a conversation can occur, but the majority of people will stand approximately half a meter apart when speaking. Canadians stand in lines when waiting for the bus, purchasing tickets, are at the store or are at the bank. It is considered rude to jump the line or head in front of someone who was there before you.
Smoking is not allowed in restaurants, offices, and even some public areas. When in a public space it is recommended that you ask your companion if they smoke before lighting your cigarette. If visiting a person in their home, it is advised that you ask for their permission before smoking.
Always be on time for appointments! Canadians will not wait longer than ten to fifteen minutes for a person who has arranged to meet them for business. Supervisors and colleagues will be displeased if you are late. Social occasions allow for leeway and you can arrive within half an hour of the agreed upon time. If you are planning on being late, it is vital that you contact the person expecting you beforehand.
People tend to set up meetings and arrange visits; it is not common to arrive without any invitation. Always be approachable, return telephone calls, be friendly and be polite in the hallways. Always do what you say you plan on doing and honor your commitments.
4. Protocol And Customs
Business people in Canada are conservative in all manners, speech, and dress. The business customs are similar to those in the UK and US, but etiquette is important. Excessive body contact, gestures in greetings, and loud conversations are often frowned upon.
Easing your way into the favour of a Canadian needs punctuality for meetings and appointments, using titles in all correspondence, and taking letters when meeting a colleague for the first time. US business colleagues need to realize that Canadians are not similar to Americans – a belief that many Canadians find offensive.
Business people negotiating with Canadians must be well-informed and understand the details of their business proposals. Thoroughness and directness are appreciated, and any evasiveness must be avoided.