Minding your Ps and Qs

Ideas of what is and is not polite can and do change over time, sometimes dramatically. At any given point in time, etiquette can vary widely from place to place. Often, when doing business, it’s the little details that make the difference, so it can be worth learning a little about the social side of how business is done in any country before moving there.

 

“Global Business Network” by jscreationzs

Although Australia tends to be a relaxed and casual country, doing business tends to be where Australians typically show the greatest level of formality. It’s one of the few times where you can expect an Australian to introduce themselves with their family name and if relevant their professional title. In contrast to Germany, however, it is likely that people will be on first-name terms within a relatively short time.

 

In other ways, there are many similarities between German business culture and business culture in Australia. In both countries, punctuality is expected, as is formal dress. In Australia, the level of formality does tend to vary between locations. In coastal Sydney dark suits are likely to be standard, whereas in (tropical) Brisbane, it’s entirely possible that workers may get away without jackets, but unlikely that they would get away with anything as casual as jeans or shorts. Australians also tend to be fairly direct in their business conversations, to an extent which would be much more familiar to Germans than, say, to the British.

 

When doing business in any country, you only get one chance to make a first impression and it’s easy to spoil it. That’s why it pays huge dividends to use an experienced German NAATI translator.