Cultural Training in Egypt
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Cultural Training in Egypt
Doing business in Egypt isn't like going on holiday: don't expect to get by with knowledge of a few words, and don't assume business is conducted in the same way universally.
But how can you properly prepare to start a business in Egypt? There are many cultural training companies and schools which can help you. They offer cross-cultural grounding, bridging the translatory and protocolic gaps between nations and people.
Providing guidance in all areas of business and sociality, these cultural training companies are experts when it comes to negotiation training; management training; and diversity training. All training, of course, can be country-specific.
Tutorials can take many forms, so investigate which will be right for you and, if necessary, your employees.
Business Etiquette in Egypt
The formalities and informalities; the how d'you dos and how d'you don'ts. Etiquette is one of the foundations of modern civilisation, and business in Egypt is no exception. A business blunder, in some countries, could mean the difference between a deal and disrepute. Again, its all about culture if not adopting, at least recognising and respecting the traditions and protocols of a people.
The first step of the culture training in Egypt is to learn to be patient in business relations, as time and punctuality can be rather vague concepts here. The business etiquette in Egypt can be very different from the Western countries. The ability to familiarise oneself with local conditions is therefore extremely important. Take time to learn about the Egyptian culture, history and customs BEFORE starting contacts and deals. A little knowledge of Arabic as well, will usually make a good impression.
Egyptians prefer to do business with those they know and respect, therefore expect to spend time cultivating a personal relationship before business is conducted. In the deals, friendship may be as important as price and quality are.
Cultivate as many contacts as you are able to: who you know is more important than what you know. Expect to be offered coffee or tea whenever you meet someone, as this demonstrates hospitality. Even if you do not take a sip, always accept the beverage. Declining the offer is viewed as rejecting the person.
Be polite, formal and well dressed. Egyptians judge a lot people on appearances. Be prepared for long, intense stares: Egyptians believe direct eye contact is a sign of honesty and sincerity.
Be prepared to meet emotive, extrovert people, who use hand gestures and who may shout or pound the table for little reason, like demonstrating a simple point.
You should demonstrate deference to the most senior person in the group, who will also be their spokesperson. This is a country where hierarchy and rank are very important It is advisable to include older people with impressive titles in your team since Egyptians respect age and experience.
Meetings are usually arranged at very short notice, and often visitors will encounter a very relaxed attitude to agreed meeting times. Business meetings generally start after prolonged inquiries about health, family, etc. A business card with English on one side and Arabic on the reverse is recommended.
Broadly speaking, business moves at a slow pace. The society is extremely bureaucratic. It may take several visits to accomplish a simple task. Egyptians are tough negotiators, they do not like confrontation and abhor saying 'no'. If they do not respond, it usually is a negative sign.