There are several things to take note before doing business in Bahrain. We have summarized the top 10 ultimate guides to business etiquette for you to master.
- You have to make appointment before meeting and always make sure you arrive on time.
- The structure of society is still very hierarchical and based on traditional family values. You should always greet the most senior person first.
- It is important to use someone’s full name including title when you greet them. Bahraini men are usually addressed by their first given name. For example, Mr Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa has the given name of Khalifa, is the son of Salman and his tribe is Al-Khalifa. He would simply be called Mr Khalifa.
- Although Arabs will almost certainly greet you in English, you may impress them if you are able to speak a little Arabic. Start with greeting them with “As-salaam-alaykum”. The reply to this is: “Wa-alaykum-salaam”.
- Always be humble and never refuse refreshments that are offered to you. Only use your right hand even if you are left-handed.
- People don’t do business with strangers in Bahrain, so invest some time in building up a good reputation for yourself.
- Arabs spend a lot of time discussing general things and exchanging small talks. Expecting them to directly discuss business is seen as rude and must be avoided.
- Arabs rarely say a straight ‘no’ to a proposition, so you must listen and observe carefully. If the response is ‘Leave it with me’ or ‘I’ll think about it’, there’s a good chance that the project will go nowhere.
- It’s a good idea to ban the word “no” and negative comments from your vocabulary during business negotiations.
- You need to be aware of how to treat women in the workplace. Not all Bahrain women are comfortable shaking hands with foreign men. You need to wait for the woman to put her hand out first before putting forth your own hand. Also, it is common for men and women to sit at different areas of the office.
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