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Business Etiquette

Business Meetings

Most London executives are happy to conduct business at breakfast, lunch, and dinner business meetings; however there is a preference towards discussing business at their office. The Restaurants chapter contains details of many fine restaurants which are suitable for business meals and social entertaining.


While on busines:

For men the accepted form of clothing when conducting business is a suit, with a shirt and a tie. For women, either a suit or a skirt and jacket with a blouse is acceptable.

At non-business occasions:

Men are expected to wear either a suit, or a jacket (blazer type) and trousers, and women may wear semi-formal light suits or a skirt and blouse.


As the Guest:

After being entertained, (as a visiting executive), you are not expected to return the compliment, at least not immediately. However, within a reasonable time, eg. within the next six months, and certainly, if the London executive subsequently visits you, then there is an expectation for the compliment to be returned.

As Host:

At business dinners and formal occasions, your most important guests ought to be seated nearest the middle of the table. Try to mix and mingle your guests, and if you have colleagues who are also hosting the event, then alternate a guest with a host. Try not to seat your guests so that there are good and bad ends of the table, or good and bad tables. Try to create an even mix of guests and hosts.


Gifts to Business Associates:

Executives in London do not expect to receive gifts from business associates, and some organisations especially, those in the public sector and government bodies, are encouraged not to accept any form of gift. If you wish to give a gift, check the organisations policy on gifts with a senior executive of the organisation, for example the company secretary.

Small symbolic items, dairies, pens, champaign and alcohol generally are the types of gifts which are well received by executives as thank-you gifts. The gift ought not to seem inappropriately expensive.

Gifts at Social Occasions:

If you are invited to a business associates home, a gift of flowers or champaign (alcohol generally) although not expected is the practice of many executives.

London executives tend not to take a gift for their hosts partner (wife or husband), however, if you feel that doing so would be appropriate, then flowers is probably a suitable gift.

The Shopping chapter contains the details of department stores and specialist stores which have on offer gifts, flowers and alcohol.


The amount tipped depends on the level of service received, however, generally London executives will tip the following amounts:-

£2-5 to airport baggage staff and porters,

£1-2 to hotel concierges, porters, doormen, for room service and hotel staff generally,

10% at restaurants; note that many restaurants include a service charge in their bill, however, sometimes the staff do not personally receive it.

10% to taxi drivers.

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