When you are preparing your business trip to a foreign country, the first question you should ask yourself is “What are the customs? What to do and what not to do when working with natives in Business”. Being aware and embracing the customs of the country and people which you are dealing with is a very important matter nowadays.
Here at Astoria we
want to do our very best to help you on your way, so we did some research and
we selected a few tips which will help you in achieving success with your Belgian business partners.
1. Dutch, French and German are all widely
spoken in Belgium. The Dutch-speaking Flemings live in Flanders, in the north and
the French-speaking Walloons live in Wallonia, in the south. If you doubt about your ability to speak one
of the three languages, just speak English!
2. Shake hands with everyone present, men or women. Once relationship is
developed, three kisses on the cheek may replace the handshake. Very important:
men never kiss other men. This interaction is more a kissing of the air near
the person's cheek which always starts with the left cheek.
3. Belgians take punctuality for business meetings very seriously. Call
with an explanation if you are delayed. To be avoided: It is not acceptable to
call a Belgian business person at home unless there is an emergency.
4. It is considered impolite to snap your fingers, put your hands in
your pockets, yawn, scratch or to use toothpicks in public. Feet should never
be put on chairs or tables and the 'ok' sign means zero.
5. When invited to someone's home, always bring flowers for the hostess.
Small gifts or candy for children are appreciated. Belgians are thrifty and do
not appreciate waste. Finish all the food on your plate. It is also considered
impolite to ask for a tour of your host's home.
I hope that this list helps put you on the right track to a successful business meeting in Belgium. For more detailed information on Business Etiquette please visit the official E-Diplomat website.