ISBN's guide to global good manners
Austria Austria
Tradition is very important. During official ceremonies, men should wear tuxedo and women are very well dressed. (Great time to show off your best occasion piece) The directrice should be kissed on the hand. (Please check out the art of hand-kissing) Titles are important, remember them and use them when addressing someone. (Just make sure you’re using the right title)
80-81_Protocol-7 Brazil
Never arrive late for an appointment. (Remind yourself you are not in Spain) Your look should be elegant never neglected. Be enthusiastic toward their warm welcoming, and about the beauty of their country. (Don’t forget the carnival and the football)
80-81_Protocol-8 China
Be respectful towards the elderly. Leave your shoes outside the door before entering people’s houses. (Don’t worry, they won’t be stolen) During a meal you should try every dish at least once. (That won’t be hard) Smile often and express thanks as much as you can. (Even if you have a cramp)
80-81_Protocol-9 Denmark
Small presents like flowers are appreciated. (Good news if you’re broke) Danish people are very welcoming, but they don’t like exaggerated behaviour and pretentious attitudes. Try to be discreet. (How refreshing; Danish friends wanted ...) Following an invitation to a function, your host will expect to be thanked the next day.
80-81_Protocol-17 France
Always bring something when invited for a meal - a bottle of wine, flowers or a present for the house. (That’s the French touch) Arrive 15 minutes late, no more, no less. (That’s the French touch) The host appreciates being complimented on the food during the meal. (That’s the French touch) For social events, be discrete and elegant, not over the top. (Yes, we’ve got it, that’s the French touch, the “je ne sais quoi”)
80-81_Protocol-7 Germany
Punctuality is king. (Make sure your watch is reliable) Business negotiations are made before a meal, not during. (Good news, you can at least enjoy the meal) Birthday presents are opened at the end of celebrations with everybody. It is common custom to invite people for coffee and cake in the afternoon even if you are not very familiar with them.
80-81_Protocol-10 Egypt
Hierarchy is very important. At the table always address superiors first. (Not by their height) Use your right hand to present things or give presents, the left is considered impure. (If you are left-handed, just stay at home) Don’t ask for any alcohol, it can make a Muslim uncomfortable towards his religion. (And it will do you good) Be complimentary about Egyptian conviviality and history. (Not only your basic cinema references, i.e. Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra [1934], Death on the Nile [1978], The Mummy [1999], but the genesis of the hieroglyphic alphabet instead)
80-81_Protocol-16 Great Britain
Shaking hands is mandatory when you meet and say goodbye. The British rarely kiss on the cheek. (lf you feel denied, take the Eurostar to France where you’ll get plenty) The British are considered to have the best table manners. Try to keep yours as sharp as possible. (If that’s too hard, just cancel the meal)
Except for flowers wrapped in paper, small presents are not common practice. (Easy, no need to rack your brain for presents)
80-81_Protocol-5 Italy
Italians dress very smartly for business meals. (Try to do the same, try to look Italian) Small presents are welcome but avoid flowers; they are considered too effeminate. (Mama Mia!) Never broach the subject of the mafia as a topic. (Did you say mafia? Is that a pasta sauce?)
80-81_Protocol-9 Russia
During official meetings, a suit and tie are mandatory. It is common practice to bring more comfortable shoes than you can wear and leave your big winter boots at the cloakroom. If a colleague invites you somewhere, buy some flowers for the hostess; always buy an even number of flowers (2,4,6,8), as odd numbers (1,3,5,7) are for funerals. (Make sure you understand the difference) Russians are superstitious, don’t shake hands at a front door; such a gesture can break a friendship. (Unless you intend to break it) Be enthusiastic about Russia, its music, literature, and conviviality of its people. (Avoid the cliché, like the vodka, caviar. Russian culture is much more than that)
80-81_Protocol-10 Spain
For a private invitation it is polite to arrive 30 minutes late. (Set an alarm to make sure you are late). But be punctual for a business meeting. (Set an alarm to make sure you are not late) Spanish managers are extremely elegant, the shirt always perfectly ironed, as they take off their jacket later in the evening. (Try to carry a mini-iron with you if you can, it might be useful)
From 2pm to 4pm it is siesta, never disturb a Spaniard during this time. (Just remind yourself you are in Spain) The Spanish don’t like to share the bill at a restaurant. (No need to get stressed about who’s paying)
80-81_Protocol-6 Turkey
Don’t be mesmerised by an object or a piece of jewellery in the guesthouse, as the owner would feel obliged to give it to you. (Don’t over-compliment the wife, you never know) Small presents are offered at the end of the evening. Turkish people expect to be invited in return. (If they compliment your husband or wife, you have the option ...)
80-81_Protocol-6 USA
During business meals they rarely drink alcohol, but beer is considered fine. (Or what about a Lettuce juice?) Smoking is badly received and frowned upon. (Get the patch, it is more convenient and anonymous) Never do small talk with Americans at business meetings. Time is at a premium so they keep it relevant.