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Wednesday, 1 April 2015

15 Tips for Business Meetings and Interviews in Saudi Arabia

Many people work in Saudi Arabia to earn good. Also some of you might be on a business trip for few days or weeks. This article is for all such people.  Working in the Kingdom is highly worth! It is a challenging and exciting experience.  Saudi Arabia is a purely Islamic country and it is reflected in all its rules, regulations, customs, traditions, rituals and greetings. Anyone coming for business purpose should keep it in mind. Following are the tips you should keep in mind during your stay in Saudi Arabia to avoid any problem.



Tips for Business Visitors in Saudi Arabia
  1. Before visiting the place, do your homework. Search about the place to have enough knowledge before time so that you don’t face any difficulty when you reach there. Going somewhere completely blank will confuse you.
  2. Dress up like a formal business trip. Your personality and appearance is your first impression. Wear a suit with tie for the first day at least. You will be noticing your hosts in long white Arabic dress known as “thobe”. They might also be wearing head gears which are white and Pink Square designed cloth with black ring around the head.
  3. Greet everyone warmly with a firm hand shake. Whenever you enter a room, greet everyone over there with “Assalamualaikum” starting from your right hand side shaking hands with them in anti-clock wise direction. Slight bow and passing a smile will leave a good impression on the other person.
  4. When in a meeting with your host you exchange business cards, never keep that card in the hip pocket. This is considered to be an insult so take care of that.
  5. Avoid sitting cross legged such that the foot doesn’t point at your host.
  6. Qahwa is a traditional drink which is usually offered. It is basically hot water with cardamom powder. Never refuse when you are offered this. This is a bad behavior. At least take a sip of it. This drink is served with dates and refilled when the cup is empty.
  7. Keep well record of the prayer timings. Business meetings are held or taken a break during the prayers time. Having an idea of it will help you to plan ahead of time. These timings change every day slightly.
  8. You will be expected to accompany them in prayers. Avoid wearing gold. It is not liked as it is basically for women.
  9. Tribal connections are on the top most priority in the Kingdom. Stay calm and have patience in building business relationships. Developing good friendship with your host will help your business prosper
  10. Avoid discussing sensitive controversial topics like terrorism, politics, religion, security or any such debate. Travel, weather, hobbies and such topics are considered okay.
  11. When giving a PowerPoint presentation, make it short and presentable using bullet points and avoiding too much text. Give your background in the beginning and come to the point slowly.
  12. Involve your hosts for an interactive session and pay attention to the body language of your host.
  13. Saudis usually abide by their promises and use the word “InshaAllah” means “if Allah wants” “Plz don’t get puzzled if Saudis say “Insha Allah”
  14. Avoid using left hand and keep your right hand clean before shaking hand. If your hand is dirty offer your wrist instead of not shaking hands and withdrawing.
  15. Thank your hosts before leaving. A good relation with your host will take your business to heights.

Useful Tips
  1. Tips by MOI for expats holding Iqama
  2. Tips for Expats coming for Vacation to Saudi Arabia
  3. Tips on conversing with Saudi Girls
  4. Tips for Living in Saudi Arabia
  5. Tips for Newcomers in Saudi Arabia

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