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Business Etiquette Switzerland – What to look out for

Business Etiquette Switzerland – What to look out for

If you want to do business with partners from Switzerland, you’ll surely ask yourself if there’s anything special to pay attention to. In our business etiquette, we’ve summed up the things that you should watch out for if you come across the Swiss in business.

Be sure to be on time

A meeting is taking place at 11:00? Then it will begin at exactly this time. Be sure to be on time because the Swiss place great value on it. You should also pay attention to this with invitations to business dinners. Don’t be surprised if the invitation has a rather early time. Business meals are often eaten early, and people also head back home early.

Greet people by name

In Switzerland, it’s very important to remember the names of people you’ve already met. It’s common for people to greet each other by name, even with fleeting greetings on the street. Even if you’ve met only once before. So think about how you can remember the names of your business partners well. 

Bank on fine delicacies as a greeting gift

If you want to make Swiss people happy, bank on a store-bought cake or candies. They should be as high-quality and fine as possible. It’s fine fort he gifts tob e a little pricey; that’s a signo f esteem. Nonetheless, the rule applies: Do without showy or … packaging (see point 7).

Don’t come on too strong

Regardless of whether you have an urgent concern or not, you first need to find out how your counterpart is doing. How is he feeling? Only after some small talk and politely asking how the other is doing can you get down to business and address your concern. Especially at the beginning of your partnership, you should place personal contact to your business partner over the actual negotiation. 

Don’t insist on titles or hierarchy

The topic of equality is very important in Switzerland. That’s why it’s not well received when you address others by their titles. It’s not seldom to use first names throughout the hierarchy, so be prepared for that and don’t treat the boss differently from his staff.

Stay formal when saying goodbye

The business meal or meeting went well, and you just have to say your good-byes? Then don’t choose phrasing like “see ya” as this is reserved for friends. Regardless of how collegial you are during your business dealings, it’s better to stick with the more formal “goodbye”.

Understatement is important

Braggarts aren’t very popular in Switzerland. When it comes to jewelry and accessories, it isn’t a matter of who has the most expensive watch, the most expensive jewelry or designer clothing. Focus on stylish clothes, understated jewelry and discreet accessories – just don’t seem showy!

Ask instead of demanding

No one in Switzerland wants to be the one who gives “orders”. Seemingly casual requests from superiors should be understood as instructions, however. Watch how your word your concerns so as not to appear “bossy”.

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