Canadian Business Etiquette 101
Play by the Canadian Rules of the Game
Written by Oxana Tsirelman, Online Editor
The cultural rules of North American business are simple and finite; any business guru and amateur is familiar them. After all, they are the foundation of how we conduct business with other countries and their effectiveness explains why we are successful in our business relations and transactions.
Ukrainian historian Valentyn Moroz points out that Canadians typically conduct business with the utmost grace and that they are “especially appreciative of those who maintain politeness and an adherence to protocol. Canadians may appear reserved, but tend to warm quickly to newcomers, establishing an informal and easygoing manner once a more familiar relationship is created.”
Furthermore, Canadians prefer to keep their business dealings as direct as possible. Cockiness and flaunting are looked down upon, even viewed suspiciously. Of course, it goes without saying that punctuality is crucial to reputation and building mutual trust. After all, if you’re late for a business meeting, your business counterpart will start getting negative ideas. Punctuality is also important for proceedings to run smoothly and on schedule.
Canada is a cultural mosaic and adheres to British practises that have accumulated over the past 200 years
The consideration of language is also a crucial aspect as Canadian business dealings. Although English is spoken by most Canadian people, French is the nation’s other official language, and is predominantly spoken in Quebec, Ottawa and New Brunswick. So, if you’re planning on doing business with French Canadians, you better brush up on your French and preparing your materials in both English and French. It’s also useful to ask about your business partners’ language preference prior to your interaction. Otherwise, you may safely assume that English is the preferred language of communication.
Another important thing to bear in mind when doing business with Canadians is that Canada is a cultural mosaic and adheres to British practises that have accumulated over the past 200 years. This country has opened and continues to open its arms to a multitude of new immigrants, who have brought their customs with them into Canada. These new cultures include European, Asian and American. Each of those races enriched the nation with their customs and traditions, which have been woven into its existing Anglo and Franco roots.
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