Australian business etiquette 101
Every country has its own unique conventions, nuances and “norms” when it comes to the way they conduct themselves in business, and Australian business etiquette is no different. As a US or UK business, understanding Australian business etiquette is vital to the success of your expansion into the country. We’re renowned for our laid-back, easy-going nature, but this doesn’t mean we’re relaxed or lazy.
Professional networks are critical
Australians are friendly, both in our professional and personal lives. A big part of Australian business etiquette stems from the relationships we nurture. We value business referrals over cold calls and prospecting emails. Reputation in Australian business culture is everything.
When expanding your business into Australia, you’ll quickly find how important we regard networking events, be it conferences, dinners with colleagues, Friday drinks with the office or quarterly sales meetings. These events are well a lot of handshake deals come to fruition, business ideas flourish, and relationships grow.
In Australia, if you’re attending a business meeting, the standard expectation for attire tends to be less formal than that of the US or UK. Suit pants and a collared shirt for men and pants and blouse for women is generally acceptable. For more serious meetings, then corporate attire is expected.
Much like in the US, the “hip” new start-up thing to do is keep dress codes relaxed. In which case, you’ll find jeans and a collared shirt more than acceptable.
Yes, we’re cruisy, but we hate having to wait for people to show up to meetings. More often than not, our day is full, and we don’t have time to push the meeting to a later time. Often, we’ll live out of the central city. In which case, we’ll travel into the CBD for one day, and make sure we’re seeing as many people as possible.
When the meeting kicks off, we like to ease into it. Typically, we might begin by talking about nondescript subjects about our weekend, family and interests, before delving into the real reason we’re there.
When attending meetings, it’s a good idea to turn your phone on silent or off altogether. We appreciate the full attention of those who we’re meeting with, and it ensures we’re getting through everything we need to in the assigned time.
We also value directness, honesty, clarity and organisation in how we present during meetings. We don’t want to be sold; we want to know the figures, statistics and data to support your view.
A recent study by Body Language Australia, showed 60% of people are visual processors, what this means is we feel we’re not being respected if we’re not being look in the eye. We love a firm handshake and eye contact. It demonstrates that you have conviction in what you’re saying and shows that you’re involved.
The usual international social mechanisms of covering your mouth when you yawn, correct posture, and beckoning a waiter/waitress with a gentle motion of the hand applies to Australian business circumstances.
On a first meeting, it’s imperative to build that trust, connectedness and rapport with the person you’re meeting with by using the correct body language – actions speak louder than words!
Are you going global and want more information about Australian business etiquette?
Are you expanding your business into Australia but have spent limited time in Australia and don’t have the resources to set up a physical entity in the country? At Australia PEO, we take on the role of Employer of Record for your workers in Australia, so that you can focus on other areas of your business like growing your network with valuable professionals. Call or email us today to find out how we can help make your global expansion efficient and straightforward.