Etiquette in United Kingdom

England is the second largest country in the United Kingdom.  This country takes up more than half of the island of Great Britain and accounts for 8o percent of the U.K.’s population. There are over 63 million people that live in England.

Celts and Anglo-Saxons make up the vast majority of England’s population, but is also comprised of Indians, Africans, and other European ethnic groups.

The official language is British English which has been influenced heavily by Latin, French, and German.

Of all the countries that are in Europe, the British attend church the least. The ones who are religious are, Anglican, Catholic, or Protestant.  Anglican is the predominant religion because the Queen is the head.

England is 5 hours ahead of U.S. Standard Eastern Time.

The pound is the currency that is used in England.

Meeting & Greeting Etiquette

For your first business meeting, a firm handshake is given to both men and women.  Smile and maintain good eye contact.  “Pleased to meet you” or “How do you do?” is an appropriate greeting.  In casual situations and with larger groups, “Hello” is fine.  If the situation is casual, it is not normal to shake hands upon departure.

Friends (not men) often kiss on one or both cheeks.  There seems to be a less known norm for greetings in the U.K. so many people don’t know whether they should shake hands or kiss or both.  This can lead to a very awkward situation.  Take the initiative and either shake hands or kiss (not both) and those you are greeting are likely to follow your lead.

Punctuality is quite important for business meetings and functions.  For dinner parties it is normal to arrive up to 15 minutes late.

Meeting Etiquette

  • The businesspeople in the United Kingdom are amazing planners, and when a meeting is scheduled, make your own arrangements in advance.
  • Rather than arriving too early, or too late, arrive right on time. If you do make it a little earlier, avoid making a comment about waiting.
  • Be prepared and be sure to project a degree of professionalism. In the United Kingdom, they will not hesitate to ask any questions.
  • Use documentation to support your presentation, provide clarification as well as credibility.
  • The United Kingdom has a natural disdain for following orders and being told what to do. To avoid telling them what to do, offer suggestions and recommendations.

Dress Etiquette

  • Dress:  Business Attire
    • Business attire tends to be more formal in the major cities even when you are in casual settings.
    • Business attire in the United Kingdom follows an American tradition.
    • Dark colors and fabrics that are heavier are the norm than the exception.
    • For men, your attire should be along the lines of a suit in darker colors with a shirt and tie. Try to avoid the striped ties (it may the stripe belonging to the regiment to which your contact belongs).
    • For businesswomen, you must also dress very formal. Wearing conservative, but fashionable suits is the norm. Please note that pant suits are rarely worn by women in the United Kingdom and all attire should be worn with nice pumps.