United Kingdom

Last updated 22 March 2013 Posted in Europe, Countries

United Kingdom
  • Official country name: The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  • Size: 243,610 square kilometre (94,060 square mile)
  • Population: 63,047,162 (2012 est.)
  • Internet TLD: .uk
  • Calling code: +44
  • GDP: 2.316 trillion dollars (36,728 dollars per capita)
  • Major import partners: Germany, China, The Netherlands
  • Major export partners: Germany, The United States, The Netherlands
  • Currency: Pound Sterling (GBP)

Business skills

Meeting styles

The British usually do not prepare a lot for a meeting, they are more than happy to just go with the flow and see how things turn out. The Counterparthowever, have to prepare everything in great detail. You are expected to have everything at hand and are fully aware of all the facts you are presenting.

A business meeting is led by the chairman, which in most cases is either the most senior person or the person who arranged the meeting. A business meeting starts with a simple handshake with all the people present at meeting, then there is time for a social conversation before starting the meeting officially. Be advised that the British will take calls even though they are in a meeting and will walk in and out of the room where the meeting is held. When speaking in a meeting make sure to always remain calm, and talk clear and without a lot of gestures. Also arte the British known for taking a lot of time for eventually coming to a decision, which requires a lot of patience on your end.

It is normal to dress more formally for the first meetings, and to ‘dress down’ over the course of several meetings. When meeting with a higher party or with somebody of importance it is advised to dress formally, a suit and a tie will do just fine. But foreign visitors with traditional clothing are also fully accepted and respected (Breet, De Koster, and Van Lunteren, 2012).

Contracts

Once a UK contract is signed, it is binding. No negotiation are possible after this. The agreed conditions have to be met. When a contract expires and both parties have fulfilled their obligations according to the agreement, there will be performance measurement to assist in a potential contract renewal.

Listening Styles

Brits listen carefully to one and other in conversation and will hardly ever interrupt with questions. When giving a presentation keep it entertaining and start off by saying what you are going to talk about and for how long and summarize your presentation at the end. People listen to the chairman in meetings but when it comes time to interact it can get very chaotic as everyone speaks at the same time.

Decision-making

Decision-making in the UK is a slow and systematic process. Managers will ask advice from their colleagues to ensure they have all the information they need on which to base their decision. They will discuss a topic and approve it in meetings before implementing a decision. Negotiations and decisions are open for debate and discussion. As yearly targets are an important aspect of the British businesses, it would be better to show your business partner the short term advantages of your deal. After a meeting it is advisable to contact your business partner by e-mail and put the conclusions in your mail as an extra backup to the discussion. The e-mail should include an action list. Keep in contact with your business partner after you have closed the deal so as to ensure more business in the future.

Argumentation styles

Most Brits are not fluent in a second language, therefore meetings and communication will be in English. Brits feel strongly about win-win situations in negotiating and arguing. Both parties should be able to gain from closing the deal. Keeping those parties informed about the progress of the business will ensure a trustworthy and long-term relationship. Negotiating styles differ from industry to industry. All industries have their own rules on how to play the game. Listen and learn and adjust to their norm. If big decisions have to be made, lawyers may be present.