If you are planning a business trip to London in the near future, it always pays to take etiquette into account. After all, first impressions could spell the difference between sealing a deal and walking away wondering what went wrong. Let’s look at eight lesser-known etiquette suggestions so that nothing is left to chance.
Keep the Kisses at Bay
While it may be common for those of the opposite sex to kiss one another on the cheek when meeting for the first time, most Londoners instead prefer a handshake. This likewise helps to immediately establish a sense of professionalism.
Start Meetings on Time
Arriving early to a particular event or even a casual luncheon silently exhibits a show of respect. This is why taking into account where you will be staying is crucial. Try to reserve a property that offers a host of modern accommodations while providing the added advantage of being adjacent to major public transportation services. The serviced apartments in Canary Wharf are ideal examples.
Dress to Impress
Let’s remember that London business professionals do not often exhibit the laid-back attitudes associated with other portions of the world such as the Mediterranean. It is, therefore always wise to dress formally to enhance your overall presence.
Embrace the After-Work Pint
Londoners are known to head off to the pub after a day at the office or when a meeting has been included. If you happen to be invited, always take up the offer. A casual pint or cocktail both provide excellent ways to break the ice and to get to know your fellow professionals.
Know When to Say When
On the other hand, be sure to moderate how much you drink during an after-work session. There is nothing worse than gaining the initial respect of your peers only to lose it due to becoming overly intoxicated.
Small Talk Leads to Big Business
From discussing the results of the latest football match or if rain is predicted (most likely a “yes” in London), Brits are known for their love of small talk. This is seen as a form of congeniality and once again, it can help to lower any perceived tension when adapting to a new business environment. Do not hesitate to join in if prompted.
Gifts go a Long Way
If you happen to be invited to a business dinner, it is wise to bring some type of small gift such as a bottle of champagne or a box of after-meal mints. While this is a rather unwritten rule, the results will go a long way in terms of how you are perceived.
London business etiquette does not have to represent a proverbial minefield. Be sure to refer back to the suggestions mentioned above for a bit of extra inspiration.