Knowledge

10 things to know about Swiss Business Culture

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In Switzerland, the business culture it is above all other personal relations.  The Swiss business values refer to punctuality, sobriety, responsibility honesty and hard work.  This is why is important to know the business culture before starting a new business relationship with a Swiss client or partner.  Here are the top 10 things to know about Swiss business culture.
 
1.       Punctuality
Switzerland is not only known for its Swiss watches and tight train timetable, but also for its general commitment regarding time. In the Swiss business environment, punctuality it is considered a mandatory attribute.  The Swiss business etiquette considers that the customer must not be let alone waiting.
 
2.The art of conversation
Swiss people are very private regarding their personal life, therefore the small talk should include mainly general conversation subjects. It is also recommended not to interrupt in the middle of a conversation. Being focused on professionalism, jokes should be avoided in the Swiss business environment.
 
3.       Dress code
The Swiss people are known for conservative and neat attire, therefore sloppy attire should be avoided. The most recommended outfit is the suit, both for men and women. Here, pin-stripes are a sign of seniority and highly competitive professional, therefore there are excluded from a junior employee outfit.  Women should keep themselves as natural as possible with a bit of dash. Both should not be ostentative when it comes to outfit.
 
4.       Greetings
The Swiss business culture also puts value on formality, addressing a business colleague, neighbor or acquaintance by their surname being considered a sign of respect and privacy. When addressing other is recommended to shake hands with everyone and to use a firm hand and make eye contact.
 
5.       Professionalism
The Swiss people put great value on the professionalism. Of course that for the client it is important to see a friendly face, but the client will appreciate more a team of professionals.
 
6.       Bilingualism
The fact that, Switzerland, though a small nation, has four official languages – German, French, Italian and Romansch, impacts the business culture and has an impact also on the business environment. Though, generally, English is spoken in business with foreigners, it is recommended to inquire beforehand to ensure the presence of an interpreter.
 
7.       Gifts
In Swiss business culture, gifts should be offered only at the end of the meeting or transaction. It is recommended to be reciprocal and include company logos. Other common business gifts is considered the fine wine.
 
8.       Business hierarchy
Swiss business culture has the client in the center of attention, even before the manager. Off course that this can vary from one company to another, depending on the business model or whether they are in the German, French or Italian areas of Switzerland.
 
9.       Business entertainment
Business entertainment will most likely take place at restaurants and lunch meetings. Spouses are generally included in business dinners. It is rare to receive an invitation to someone's private home.
 
10.    Body language
The Swiss business culture values moderation in gestures, therefore fidgeting, moving hands and making sweeping gestures are considered rude. Also gestures such as pointing the index finger, slouching, stretching or yawning in public are not appreciated. Poor posture should be avoided as it is considered not respectful.
 

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