The Swiss are generally quite informal, but they do adhere to some (unspoken) rules of etiquette. The Switzerland business culture dictates a formal, conservative dress code. Do not use your hands except for breaking bread. Avoid using idioms and frequently confirm that what you have said has been understood. Be early! They are also very good at maintaining confidentiality. Never give an expensive gift, this can be seen as a bribe or flattery. Although some professions are more relaxed, it is best to avoid casual wear at first meetings. Tread carefully in Swiss business and social situations and be aware of Swiss cultural nuances. 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. 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. Poor posture is frowned upon. Also, knowing the cultural customs of the country you wish to do business with shows great respect towards their culture and is the best way to earn the trust and respect of your future business partners. If French, German, or Italian is what your Swiss contacts speak and understand the best, you will want to have an interpreter. The question is more, once you are aware of the differences, how do you deal with them? Summarize the presentation first before launching into your pitch. Gender equality is still a work in progress in Switzerland business culture. The Swiss dress well, but not displaying ostentatious signs of wealth. Dress for success “In Switzerland, you're more likely to be successful in business if you're a good dresser,” says Seeger. If invited to your host’s home, bring flowers or a good box of candy for the hostess and something small for children. Normal business hours are Monday to Friday, 8am-12pm, 2pm – 5pm. Your rank within the corporate hierarchy is much more important and, when designing your card, you might consider having your professional title printed in a different font. The Swiss embrace all things new and innovative when it comes to technology but when it comes to people, they remain conservative. You are not Swiss – they know that!”. They remain straightforward in negotiations and make a genuine effort to see matters from the opponent’s perspective. Friends kiss three times on the cheek – right, left, then right again. Avoid making jokes during business meetings. Always send a hand-written thank you note if invited to someone’s home. Colours are dark and modest. In conversation and debate, the French have a reputation for their rhetorical abilities and charismatic presence, yet these characteristics tend to be less apparent among the French-Swiss. Stick to surnames, unless invited to use first names. I looked into purchasing some of that travel wear that packs well, doesn't wrinkle and you can rinse it out in a sink. The Switzerland business culture dictates a formal, conservative dress code. 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. It will make your life considerably easier if you present yourself well and create a good impression. Respect is given according to rank, education and achievements. In a business setting, dress should be conservative and formal and certainly not too fashionable. Controversial topics are Swiss neutrality, their role in the World Wars, the military, women’s rights and anything too personal. English is also a common language in Switzerland business culture. Work; however, do not open a conversation with “What do you do?”. That said, it appears that in some circles, topics such as mentioned above are being spoken about more openly so it is not “that unusual” to ask a person’s age, occupation or marital status. Shake hands with everyone; use a firm hand and make eye contact. You should be warned that, in Swiss business culture, individuals with seniority, rank, and authority are often very discreet in exercising their power. Switzerland business culture can seem formal and intimidating for expats when they first arrive. Get straight down to business or stick to safe, general small talk such as the weather or global politics. Business and private life are completely separate. While openness towards technology may give the Swiss an air of daring-do — do not be misled. If you are working in Zurich, the official language is German. You could give something with your company logo on it. There are 4 weeks of holiday every year, with at least 2 weeks of consecutive vacation.

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