Australian Customs and Etiquettes
Aussie Manners and Etiquette
It is said, 'When in Rome, do as the Romans do.' Similarly, when in the 'Land Down Under', be Aussie. Some of the etiquette followed by the Australians are mentioned below.
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Australian terms and expressions can be different from other English-speaking countries, so you should get familiar with the local slang.
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- Be casual and relaxed while greeting Aussies.
- A handshake and a smile will go a long way.
- Hi, Hello, G'day (good day) is a good way to greet people in Australia
- Aussies prefer to use first names, even at the initial meeting, so greeting them by the first name is not considered rude or improper.
- "Mate" is a common way of casually addressing friends, male or female (Hey mate, what plans do you have for the day?)
- You might get quite a few invitations to an Aussie home for a BBQ a.k.a. 'barbie' in Australia.
- Guests usually bring beer or wine to an Aussie BBQ and sometimes if the event is extremely informal, the guests may be asked to get their own meat as well.
- Being on time always gives an advantage since you get to interact with more people and get to know each other better and that is how its done there at a BBQ or a party. Punctuality is a good etiquette to have.
- Always be courteous enough to check with the host or hostess if they would like you to bring something before you arrive at the party.
- It is always nice to offer help to the host/hostess with preparing a meal or cleaning up once the party is over.
- Fork in the left hand and knife in the right hand is how food is eaten there. So unless you are required to eat by hand follow the 'rule'.
- Laying your knife and fork parallel on your plate with the handles facing to the right indicates that you are finished with your meal.
- Elbows off the table and hands above the table is a good table etiquette.
Business Meeting Etiquette
- Taking an appointment is good sense and necessary and quite easy to schedule as well.
- Make sure you take an appointment well in advance.
- Punctuality is of utmost importance when it comes to business meetings so arriving early is advisable rather than being late for a meeting.
- Meetings are generally relaxed however serious work is accomplished during the meetings.
- If an Australian takes exception or has a different view to yours they will tell you about it.
- Keep your presentations short and effective without any hyped figures and facts.
Negotiating and Decision Making
- Getting the work done as quickly as possible is what the Australians are known for and small talk is not entertained.
- A direct approach is appreciated and brief meetings covering the important details of the meeting are impressive.
- Negotiations proceed quickly. Bargaining is not customary. They will expect your initial proposal to have only a small margin for negotiation.
- They do not like high-pressure techniques. As long as the work gets done on time and with accuracy and efficiency it is all good.
- Decision-making is concentrated at the top of the company, although decisions are made after consultation with subordinates, which can make decision making slow and protracted.
- Business dress is conservative in Melbourne and Sydney.
- A dark coloured, conservative business suit is considered suitable for men.
- Women can wear a smart dress or a business suit.
- In Brisbane or other tropical areas, depending on the job function and company culture, men may wear shirts, ties and Bermuda shorts.
- Business cards are exchanged at the initial introduction without formal ritual.
- If you are not presented with a business card, the person simply may not have one.
Communication & Relationships
- Australians are very matter of fact when it comes to business so do not need long- standing personal relationships before they do business with people.
- Australians are very direct in the way they communicate.
- There is often an element of humour, often self-deprecating, in their speech.
- Aussies often use colourful language that would be unthinkable in other countries.