Australia Business Culture in business setups
The people of Australia are straight talkers and like getting down to facts quickly without beating about the bush. This quality makes them able to get into business without having to have had existing or long standing personal relations with a prospective business partners. Even though this is so they still engage the use of colourful language as well as humour when talking.
Appointments for meetings are necessary and easy to make. Punctuality for business meetings highly encouraged as being late is considered rude. The business meetings take place in a relaxed atmosphere but this does not in anyway water down the agenda of the meeting. When giving a presentation it is advisable to remain factual avoiding hype and exaggerating things. Emotions are regarded as trivial in the business arena and if an Australian does not understand or takes an exception to anything, they easily make it known.
Because of their nature of being direct negotiations take place quickly and not much bargaining is expected. The use of high pressure in order to influence a decision is not appreciated. Although the decision making organs are concentrated at the top, consultations are made with the subordinates making the decision making process relatively slow.
In most places in the country men dress in dark coloured suits while women put on a formal dress or a business suit. However in the tropical areas business attire varies depending on the type of work one is engaging in and the company culture. For example in places such as Brisbane you may find men putting on shirts with ties and having Bermuda shorts.
Business cards are often exchanged during an initial introduction between prospective business partners without much a do. No offence should be taken in the event that one does not get a business card. It may be that the other person did not have any.
Some Etiquette to observe in Different scenarios
The most common phrase to hear is ‘G day mate’. However a visitor should simply use a more universal greeting say ‘hello’ or maybe ‘hello. How are you?’ Generally greetings are not that formal. People simply shake hand and smile. The use of the first name is common and acceptable even during an initial meeting.
You will find that most invitations to an Australian Home is usually for a barbeque commonly reffered to as a ‘Barbie’. If you are invited you are expected to carry along some beer or wine for the hosts. In some very informal setups you may even be expected to bring in your own meat. It is advisable for you to arrive on time for an invited dinner. For a larger party or barbeque there is a short window of fifteen minutes that allows for lateness. Being easy going people you can contact the hostess beforehand to find out if she needs you to bring in a dish. It is always taken in good taste to help the hostess in clearing up after the event.
While at the diner table follow the following guidelines:
- The right hand holds the knife while the left has the fork
- Lay the knife and fork parallel to each other, handles facing the right to indicating you have finished.
- Elbows should be kept off the table.
- Always have your hands above the table when eating.
When giving gifts;
It is common to have gifts exchanged amongst friends and family during Christmas and on birthdays.
On occasions when you are invited for dinner you can carry along with you a box of chocolates or some flowers for the hosts to add to the usual bottle of wine. It is the Australian culture to open gifts when they are received.
Australia is a very large country with a relatively small population, with vast expanses of the country virtually uninhabited (and many would say uninhabitable), making Australia one of the most urbanised countries in the world. Having a small domestic market means that Australian businesses increasingly recognise the need to look at international markets to ensure their own future prosperity as well as the future well-being of the country. Australia depends on a lot of trade with Asian countries such as Japan, India and China, and thus, there is a mutual understanding and respect for each country’s way of doing business.
Australia is described as an Egalitarian society with a down-to-earth approach to doing business. This is not to say they are not shrewd business people, but it is a culture where everyone is generally considered equal on merit, rather than by judgement of cultural background or status.
Having a small domestic market means that Australian businesses increasingly recognise the need to look at international markets to ensure their own future prosperity as well as the future well-being of the country. Australia depends on a lot of trade with Asian countries such as Japan, India and China, and thus, there is a mutual understanding and respect for each country’s way of doing business.
Australian’s have a very open and “down-to-earth” approach to doing business. This is not to say they are not shrewd business people, but it is a culture where everyone is generally considered equal on merit, rather than by judgement of cultural background or status.
Australians can tend to be very direct in their business dealings. There are some tips when considering doing business in Australia:
- Australians tend to adopt a first name basis when dealing in business, as the use of titles is not necessarily an important part of Australian business culture. This is considered a sign of camaraderie or ?mateship,? but it may be wise to address them as ?Mr.?, ?Mrs.?, or ?Miss.?, followed by their surname for initial introductions.
- Shaking hands is obligatory at the beginning and end of a meeting, when doing business with an Australian. This is suitable with both male and female colleagues.
- Once business negotiations are underway, issues will be discussed in an open and direct manner. Although dealings may be time-efficient and to the point, quite often the eventual decision-making process may be a slow one that should not be coerced into a rushed result.
- Be punctual at all times.
- Humour is always used when dealing with Australian business people. In fact it is expected in most situations as long as it is used in good taste.
Australian organisations tend to be fairly non-hierarchical in their structure. Little attention is paid to titles and rankings within organizations. Australians will employ an attitude of mutual respect for all people regardless of status and do not wish to disrespect international organisations that may deal with a different business structure.
Overall, it is important to be respectful, friendly and not to act too self-important when doing business in Australia. To brag about one’s achievements is considered to be rude and pompous. Most Australians have a very good reputation for international business due to the nature of its multi-cultural society where over 100 different types of languages from all around the world are spoken and a camaraderie and respect for all cultures is the norm.