Respect is given according to rank, education and achievements. The German and French-Swiss often have a tendency to use universal rules to solve problems, while the Italian Swiss usually prefer to become personally involved in each situation. The Swiss can be rather earnest, so it is advisable to avoid making jokes until you are sure of your ground; it is only too easy for your gentle banter to be perceived as mockery. Doing business in Switzerland: Swiss business culture. Adopt good posture, don’t slouch or yawn. Inquire about the English-language proficiency of the Swiss businessmen you will be encountering. Every company should be aware of cultural differences in business communication. You do not have to have a magnetic personality to win favour with the Swiss; it is usually sufficient to be a responsible, sound, honest businessperson. You will find that people speak a kind of dialect called Swiss German. Maintaining control over your emotions and leading a disciplined personal life are also esteemed qualities. Business and private life are completely separate. You couldn’t find a more honest, trustworthy, straight-forward culture in which to work. Never give an expensive gift, this can be seen as a bribe or flattery. English is also a common language in Switzerland business culture. Stick to surnames, unless invited to use first names. Handshakes should be firm with eye contact. Although French- and Italian-speaking areas tend to be slightly more relaxed about time, punctuality is well appreciated. In Swiss business culture, there is a reluctance to take risks. Do not wear jeans or casual attire on a first-time business meeting unless it is standard in the industry such as in IT or the arts. Mundialz wants you to achieve your career goals and we’ll be here to guide you along the way. Essentially though, decisions are made at the top and must be obeyed. It is not uncommon to work as much as 50 hours per week in some professions. “I always tell people that if they want a promotion, they should look at how the most successful people dress in a company.” Today, the dress code has become more relaxed in most industries. German-Swiss will usually get right down to business. Etiquette. I looked into purchasing some of that travel wear that packs well, doesn't wrinkle and you can rinse it out in a sink. No bright colored tennis shoes, wear dark clothing, no collegiate attire, no baseball caps, etc. Humour could be taken as mockery and the Swiss like to be taken seriously. The Swiss can be remarkably casual in their dress, save for the highest-ranking management. The Italian Swiss are more open than other Swiss, though more reserved than native Italians. Try to finish everything on your plate; it is rude to leave leftovers. The Swiss are a very private people, so try to avoid asking personal questions. You should be warned that, in Swiss business culture, individuals with seniority, rank, and authority are often very discreet in exercising their power. Conservative yet stylish suits are appropriate for men, although a jacket and tie rather than a suit tends to be accepted as well. Switzerland; Etiquette; Switzerland in detail. The Swiss are generally quite informal, but they do adhere to some (unspoken) rules of etiquette. Which cookies and scripts are used and how they impact your visit is specified on the left. They have many nuances of etiquette to be aware of. It is in your best interest to be well presented (read conservative) and to remain polite at all times. Business attire has become more relaxed in Switzerland in recent years, with some firms introducing 'dress-down' Fridays. Female businesspersons should reflect before offering to pay for a male colleague’s meal since the Swiss are traditional and most men will view the offer as impudent. Gender equality is still a work in progress in Switzerland business culture. If invited to your host’s home, do not ask for a tour. Even in offices with secretaries, envelopes addressed to individuals will usually be opened only by the addressee. Make appointments for all meetings, don’t try and be spontaneous. Business entertaining usually takes place at lunch, not dinner. Making a good impression by dressing appropriately can go a long way in Switzerland. In Swiss business culture, few women hold high-level positions and they must work much harder than their male colleagues to achieve a comparable level of success. It is a sign of respect and privacy. You should arrive at least five minutes early and be sure to telephone if you think you’ll be late. The French and Italian Swiss, however, will expect some preliminary ‘small talk’ and may even offer you a drink. Attire should always be neat and conservative. Women hoping to work in Switzerland should be aware of these cultural differences if they want to succeed. The question is more, once you are aware of the differences, how do you deal with them? When arriving for an appointment, you should give your card to the receptionist and/or secretary to keep on file and, then, to everyone you meet, not just your counterpart or client. Do not point your index finger to your head it is an insult. Avoid giving sharp items such as cutlery, knives, scissors, since this indicates the severing of a relationship. The Swiss believe in working longer hours than most of their European neighbours. However, some exceptions to the rule may spring up in Anglo-Saxon or English speaking multi-nationals where first name basis is common. Female business travellers will, however, be accepted in their own right but they must remain highly professional at all times, both in their behaviour and dress. Ensure that you bring a plentiful supply of business cards since the Swiss are usually keen to exchange them. Swiss business culture has a rigid, deeply entrenched hierarchy; only the highest individuals in authority make the final decision. The following points should be noted before doing business with the Swiss: Generally speaking, the German and French Swiss are conceptual, analytical thinkers; the Italian Swiss tend to think associatively. Summarize the presentation first before launching into your pitch. Switzerland is a country of clockmakers and punctuality is highly valued. During official meetings, men should wear dark suits and ties; women should wear suits or dresses. Official Language: German, French, Italian, Romanish Currency: Swiss Franc (CHF) National Holiday: Swiss National Day, August 1st (Schweizer Nationalfeiertag/Fête nationale Suisse/Festa nazionale della Svizzera/Festa naziunala) More Swiss Holidays. Colours are dark and modest. Get straight down to business or stick to safe, general small talk such as the weather or global politics. Colours are dark and modest. 1. Greetings. Controversial topics are Swiss neutrality, their role in the World Wars, the military, women’s rights and anything too personal. Often, options will be discussed among colleagues, and a consensus will try to be reached. Although some professions are more relaxed, it is best to avoid casual wear at first meetings. For example, male colleagues will expect to pay for dinner and might get offended if you insist. The business attire standards on campus are outlined in our Pre-Arrival Guide for Switzerland and for London. You may change your settings at any time. The Swiss are reserved in their body language, don’t be too demonstrative with your hands, don’t point or fidget too much. Any jewellery [even a Swiss watch] should be elegant, but simple and understated. In German-speaking Switzerland, use the courtesy titles Herr to address a man and Frau to address a woman; in French-speaking areas, use Monsieur and Madame; in Italian-speaking areas, use Signore and Signora. Dress for success “In Switzerland, you're more likely to be successful in business if you're a good dresser,” says Seeger. This site uses functional cookies and external scripts to improve your experience. Poor posture is frowned upon. Also, people have been known to sport tasteless ties (lilac or gray) with watercolor suits (green or burgundy are a common sight among middle management). Punctuality is necessary for all occasions, whether business or social. However, as Intercultural management consultant Fons Trompenaars points out, “There is a mindset that needs to be built in which the Swiss (or any other country national) can be approached rather than ‘this is a list of what the Swiss do’ because the Swiss will not expect you to become Swiss.

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