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Business etiquette

Business etiquette

Relationships & Communication

. Although third-party introductions are not necessary, they often smooth the way.
. Regardless of how you are introduced, you must always be polite and well mannered.
. Belgians are careful and prudent so take time before they trust others, be they individuals or representatives of companies.
. Business dealings tend to be bureaucratic. There are many procedures and a great deal of paperwork.
. Belgians are excellent linguists and many are sufficiently fluent to conduct meetings in English.
. Belgians prefer subtlety to directness, believing that subtlety is a reflection of intelligence.
. Although they are more direct in their communication than many cultures, if a response is too direct it may be seen as simplistic.
. They prefer communication to be logical and based on reason
. Belgians often engage in long, critical discussions before reaching a decision so that they can be certain that they have considered all the alternatives.
. They believe it is rude to be confrontational.

Business Meeting Etiquette

. Appointments are necessary
. The person you are meeting will generally set the time for the meeting, usually mid morning or mid afternoon.
. Avoid scheduling meetings during July and August, which are prime vacation times; the week before Easter; and the week between Christmas and New Year.
. Everyone is expected to arrive on time
. Arriving late may brand you as unreliable.
. Meetings are formal
. First appointments are more socially than business oriented, as Belgians prefer to do business with those they know.
. Do not remove your jacket during a meeting.

Dress Etiquette

. Men should wear dark coloured, conservative business suits with white shirts and silk ties.
. Women should wear business suits or conservative dresses.
. Men should only wear laced shoes, never loafers or other slip-ons, as they are too casual.
. Polished shoes are an integral part of a professional image.

Business Cards

. Business cards are exchanged without formal ritual.
. Have one side of your business card translated into French or Dutch. This shows respect and understanding of the linguistic heritage of your colleagues.
. If you have meetings in both areas, have two sets of business cards printed, and be careful to use the proper ones.
. Present your business card so the recipient can read the side with their national language.