How business people greet around the world

Published on 02/05/2022

Business trips are a daily routine for thousands of people around the world. During those trips, people meet new companies and make professional contacts, while being on the look out for solutions to maximize profit and optimize operations. It might be entering new markets or making new partners, maybe even strategic business collaborations.

At those events every detail matters to successfully close business deals and prevent any uncomfortable situations. That’s why in this article you will find out how business people greet around the world. So that you will be prepared for every possible scenario.

Índice de contenidos

Index of contents

Index du contenu


  1. United States and the global West
  2. United Kingdom and France
  3. Russia
  4. Switzerland
  5. China

United States and the global West

Due to their stable markets, both the United States and Western World attract most business travellers. Especially everything related to the pharmaceutical and technological industries are very common, but also many more. It’s good to know the historical greeting maxim for those countries: firmness. A firm and solid handshake and then move on to the next stage of the negotiation.

After the handshake, you can ask other relevant questions. For example family-related questions, or if you already know the person, you can ask any other questions that might create emotional ties.

United Kingdom and France

Business events in countries like the UK or France , follow a specific greeting protocol. In the United Kingdom, business greetings are similar to the ones in the United States. However, British Business people tend to be a little more reserved and like to maintain distance, that’s why you should always keep some space to your interlocutor.

In France, people follow rather general standards. There might be the possibility of two kisses, but only if there is a prior relation of trust that allows this step. If that’s not the case you should always stick to using only hands to greeting or closing any business opportunities.


In Russia , the rules are different compared to the other countries mentioned. Be careful with shaking hands with any person of the opposite sex. This habit originated from the old-fashioned gelanterie. Traditionally in Russia it used to be normal for men to kiss women's hands instead of shaking them. In either case, the greeting should always be both strong and determined. The goal is always to transmit confidence to the other person.


In Switzerland, we should always remember to add a “Frau” or “Herr” (Miss(es)/Mister) to the last name, whenever we are greeting or saying goodbye to our interlocutor. Moreover, it is not polite to ask any personal questions. So we should focus only on a business-related dialogue.


China as economic power is popular among business people and economic transactions. In this case, we must follow a very strict protocol. We always greet the elders first by slightly bowing. We have to keep our hand tight and should not try to make eye contact.

As we have seen, there are many different ways to greet each other in the world of business. This article outlined some of the main protocols that exist around the world. Remember to keep them in mind on your next trip and return with a successfully closed deal.

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Virginia Pacheco's picture
Virginia Pacheco

Blog writer and Community Manager interested in multiculturality and linguistic diversity. From her native Venuzuela, she has travelled and lived for many years in France, Germany, Cameroon and Spain, passing on her passion for writing and her intercultural experiences.

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