Business Practices in South Africa

Overview by
The Fundamental Principles of Business Culture
Trust is a very important part of business culture in this country. Being respectful to elders is an intrinsic part of this culture. Respect for hierarchy is always maintained.
The English - speaking South Africans are invariably more restrained in their expression and try to be amicable. Traditional Afrikaans are more direct.
Always be punctual for meetings.
First Contact
Business meetings should be fixed at least a month in advance and confirmed a day earlier.

Letter of reference is an effective mean of reaching right people quickly and expedite business procedures. Approaching the organization through a known third person is helpful.

Greetings vary from English-speaking South Africans who are formal in their approach as against the Black South Africans are who tend to be more open and informal.

In most instances people are greeted with a handshake.

How to Present Yourself
Titles are not generally used.
Business Relations
Building business relationships is vital.
Good quality wine, chocolates and flowers can be brought as gifts. Gifts are opened when received .
Business Communication
Raising voice or interrupting conversation is not appreciated. Haggling over prices should be avoided and hence appropriate price should be quoted.
Dress Code
For initial meetings dress conservatively. Men should wear dark coloured business suits. Women should wear elegant business suits or dresses.
Visiting Cards
Visiting cards are widely used and are usually simple providing only the basic information. English language is normally used.
For Further Information
Communicaid, South African business culture.
Kwintessential, South African culture and custom on the Kwintessential website.
Executiveplanet, South African business culture on the Executiveplanet website.

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