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Business etiquette in the Middle East: How should I behave in a business meeting in the Middle East?


It is very important to greet people in order of seniority which means when you are in a business meeting you should start with the most senior person first and work down the hierarchy. Try and do your research before you get to the meeting, so you are aware of who is most important and you don’t offend anybody. However, if you find yourself in a meeting with lots of people you don’t know and this does happen from time to time, just start from the right and work your way along the line, remembering to shake everybody’s hand as you go.

The other thing I wanted to mention is business cards, don’t forget to take them with you because Arabs use business cards a lot. Remember that you need to hand your business card over respectfully. You don’t need to do the thing that they do in Asia where you hand your card over with both hands and bow, but you also shouldn’t do that terrible Australian habit of just throwing your business card across the table, because you will offend people. So, hand them over respectfully and make sure you take the time to look at each person’s card and acknowledge them and thank them for that card.

Author: Cynthia Dearin

Cynthia Dearin is an international business strategist, advisor, keynote speaker and author of Amazon best-seller Camels, Sheikhs and Billionaires: Your Guide to Business Culture in the Middle East and North Africa. With 18 years of international experience, as an Australian diplomat and management consultant, she is the Founder and Managing Director of Dearin Associates and the International Business Accelerator that helps clients to access opportunities in fast-growing international markets around the world.

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