What are some unwritten rules in India

Business etiquette - different countries, different customs

Not only in German offices there are unwritten laws that determine everyday interaction. If you spend some time abroad, you will quickly notice how the people “tick” there. We have put together a few peculiarities from different countries for you so that you do not step into faux pas right away:


  • If you want to point at someone, you should use your entire right hand. Just pointing your finger at the person means viewing them as a subordinate.
  • Business cards should always be handed over with the right hand and should not be tucked away straight away. The left hand is used for personal hygiene and is therefore considered unclean.
  • Contact with your foot, be it a small kick or a collision, must be excused immediately. The feet are considered to be the lowest and most impure part of the body.
  • The head, on the other hand, is the highest part of the body and is considered sacred. Indians are therefore not touched on the head, not even children.
  • Some gestures that exist in many Western countries do not have the same meaning in India. For example, Indians sometimes rock their heads slightly to indicate their approval - which you can easily confuse with a negative shake of the head. Therefore, it is better to ask what the other person means.

Australia / New Zealand

  • As in New Zealand, the tone in Australia is very relaxed but also very polite. Better to say too much "Thank you" or "Sorry" if something went wrong. It is also common to form queues. Jostling is considered very rude.
  • In Australia, the “thumbs up” gesture is not understood as positively as it is in this country. It corresponds more to the "finger finger".
  • Don't compare New Zealanders to their neighbors in Australia. You don't like that there - just as much as Australians don't want to be asked about their history as a former prisoner colony. It is best to avoid such topics of conversation, because otherwise you can actually chat about anything with Australians and New Zealanders.
  • If you want to take photos of Maori (New Zealand) or Aboriginal (Australia) cultural assets, ask if this is allowed.


  • In Japan, politeness and restraint are particularly important. There you criticize your fellow human beings, if at all, only "through the flower" and in private. Patience and equilibrium are virtues in Japan - but quick-tempered behavior is not welcomed.
  • If someone gives you something, take it with both hands. When you give something to someone, give it with both hands - this shows that you respect the other person.
  • If business cards are exchanged, they are read through carefully and sometimes aloud as soon as they are received - this also shows respect for the other.
  • If you are invited to a karaoke bar, that also means that you should sing. Karaoke bars are very popular in Japan and everyone participates - even if you can't sing at all.
  • In Japan, it is also uncommon to unpack food or drink outside of buildings or parks. This can be difficult, especially on warmer days, so think about where you can take a “drinking break” in between.

South Africa

  • Physical contact is perceived here as a sign of solidarity. Hence, it is not uncommon to hug after a deal.
  • Meat dominates the menu. South Africans love to grill. In addition, beer or wine is mostly drunk, but long drinks or whiskey can also be served.
  • The job is “business casual”: Jeans and casual clothing are preferred. Exceptions are official appointments, the first meeting, signing contracts and the like. There you better wear a suit or costume.

Scandinavian countries

  • Understatement and punctuality are a virtue in Scandinavian countries. Scandinavians don't like it when you exaggerate or brag when you talk. Those who are cautious have the better cards.
  • Equality between men and women is very important in Scandinavian countries. It can happen that a woman is not greeted first.
  • In Finland it can happen that you are invited to a sauna by your Finnish business partner after a business meeting. You shouldn't refuse this as it is a sign that your host trusts you.
  • If you are already offered alcohol for lunch in Sweden, you should take a sip with your business partners.
  • If you are invited to “middag” in Denmark, you should come for dinner.
  • Regardless of whether it is private or business: In Norway the most important rule is “nail your counterpart down to what has been said”. In Norway, a commitment is by no means a commitment.