Arabian East comprises a number of countries, which are mainly similar with regard to concepts of etiquette, business virtues and, with some reservations, status. Arabian business people are certainly unlike Americans in the aspects of professional etiquette, communication habits, negotiating style, sense of appropriateness, lifestyle and dressing. It is worth noting that not all Arabian peoples, say, of Gulf region strictly adhere to the common traditions of Islam community: some historical and geographical peculiarities may bring about surprising discrepancies. For example, in Yemen, which is secluded and minor country of the region, it is not recognized as polite to inquire about the partner’s society for it may be viewed as in-depth investigation. Although, in Saudi Arabia, much unlike Yemen, it is customary to have long personal talks with the partner, getting to know his opinion on the topic, while he is welcome to debate and substantiate his point: all this serves the end of enlightening each other and, thus, deemed valuable.
So important an issue of as timing has to be overlooked when dealing with Arabs. Often they use not customary but religious, bound to the prayer’s schedule, frame of references. “To say “between Maghrib and Isha” is more
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Saudis working week, which just like in USA comprises seven days, starts on Saturday. Foreign businessman or woman may find a number of things to be strange with regard to established in their business practice standards, especially when ‘timing’ is concerned. Sometimes to move with a deal quicker one should not try to fix an appointment getting vexed when the nearest dates are booked – its more expedient and common to drop in when near by and, in that case, one has a definite chance to slip in between two appointments. Courtesy and hospitality usually prevents Saudis from keeping schedules, therefore, it makes sense to stick to times of day rather then precise hours.
Interpersonal communication habits of Arabian people are organized according to “save face” principle and politesse. This may often cause some misconception because wholehearted manner may conceal the lack of personal sympathy while somewhat off-hand bearing may mean that a partner is considered a personal friend.
In general, some entry talks are held before the negotiations and might be a little long but the more feedback one provokes the more highly he is esteemed – Arabs like people to express an opinion. There may be some confusion with carpets because reception rooms often are mostly carpeted: the visitor has to take of his or her shoes and then approach. As gestures and bearing are vital elements of communications, it is worth knowing that when seated, direct the sole of the foot to the person means declare ”go away”. When it comes to hands, here right hand seems to be of higher esteem then left one: passing something with left hand, which is reserved only for unclean usage, is extremely impolite.
When negotiating, Arabs emphasize the ritual: they are skilled at misleading to their own advantage. Host have got a prerogative of proposing subjects of conversation and conducts general guiding with an option to change the subject when the right time. Usually, Arabs are reliable partners but there might be some terms in the contract which may appear to be unequivocal of rendering: notions of time and promptitude need special interpretation. Many Arabian countries prior to exploring the oil deposits lived on the trade, thus, Arabian business people are very hard at bargain – they are used to bargain almost everything. Arabs seem to have rigid social and business structure which has got an immediate implication on their conduct: the most valueable is due esteem to the partner and “save face” (www.traderscity.com) demeanour. Not much do these people like to feel embarrassed, so one has to keep a vigilant eye on how he or she approaches women, which are sacrosants, or doing personal remarks. Arabs appreciate genuine praise for they seem to be aware of their virtues but with flattery it is not the same.
When dealing with Arabian business people keeping the right distance always pays but if no competent adviser available, it is worth to demonstrate an open mind and sincerity, which may not go without notice.
3. www.peacecorps.gov/wws/ culturematters