Knowing about UAE Culture is essential for cultivating friendships and business relationships in the UAE. When it comes to making friends or meeting new clients, knowing the proper UAE etiquette will help you make the best first impression possible.
From setting up a meeting to formal negotiations, learn the art of UAE business protocol.
Setting Up a Business Meeting with UAE Nationals:
When setting up a business meeting with UAE Nationals be they VIPs or business people it is important to send as much relevant information to your UAE counterparts in advance of the meeting including details about the topics to be discussed along with background information about your company thus ensures that the people you want to meet will actually attend the meeting.
However, preparing in advance will not always secure you the confirmation of the actual meeting’s day and time so be aware and prepared for an immediate response so that you are ready to present.
It is not uncommon to wait anxiously until the the last minute for confirmation.
They Will give you confirmation of the time and place as soon as possible if they have the required information
Arrival at Business Meeting:
When you get the confirmation of the meeting time and place and it is not your location! Be on time. Arriving late is considered rude. If you do arrive late, apologizing for your tardiness is a must.
If you are hosting the meeting, it is proper etiquette to send a representative to meet the participants or representatives outside the building or in the lobby and personally escort them to the meeting room. The host should be waiting in the meeting room to greet all the invitees The senior-most guest should enter the meeting room first. While entrance by rank is a must during high level government meetings, it is becoming less formal for regular business meetings.
Business Meeting Seating Arrangements:
After handshakes and the customary exchange of business cards, guests take their seats. The seating is typically arranged by rank. The host should escort the senior-most guest to their seat as well as all VIP guests.
The place of honour is to the host’s right on a sofa or in chairs that are opposite the room’s doors.
If the meeting is held around a large conference table, then the guest of honour is seated directly opposite the host. Other high ranking guests sit in the same general area while the remainder of the guests can choose their seats from among the remaining chairs.
If the meeting is held around a large conference table, all the UAE national delegation may opt to sit on one side of the table and expatriates on the other. This is especially true for formal meetings and negotiations. The principal delegates are seated in the meeting with lower ranking attendees placed at either end of the table.
Please be aware that most of the ladies don’t shake hands so wait until she starts to put her hand forward then you can shake; otherwise you will see some women putting
their hands on their upper chest area or up their sleeves which indicates she is not shaking hands’ Men will not always shake hands with ladies either and visitors to UAE should be aware of this.
If you enter the meeting room or the guest room a guide will show you the VIP person to go to, when shaking hands make sure your other hand is not in your pocket and be sure to use your right hand.
After sitting make sure not to cross your legs in the meeting or sitting in a bad position or turn your back to the person beside you.
Discussing Business at Meetings:
Meetings usually begin with ‘‘small’’ talk to assist both sides to feel more comfortable. After a few minutes of small talk, there is a short welcoming speech from the host followed by discussion of the meeting’s topic.
During any conversation, the UAE National will often nod their heads or make affirmative utterances. These are signals that they are listening to what is being said and understand what is being said. These are NOT agreements to what is being said.
Do not interrupt during the meeting. The meetings in UAE are highly structured and interjecting beyond a quick remark is considered rude. Also, don’t put anyone on the spot by asking them to provide information they seem unwilling to give or challenge a person directly. Doing so will lead them to become embarrassed and lose face”.