Australian Meeting Etiquette

Punctuality is considered a virtue in Australia — but having said that meetings often start five or ten minutes late. In addition, it is customary to go through a few minutes small talk before getting down to the key issues of the meeting (sport is a very common theme of these discussions.)

Australia can be classified as a ‘post-planning’ culture which means that relatively little preparation is done for meetings (with the exception of client-facing meetings). Meetings are often viewed as the forum for the open debate of an issue and that, during that open debate, a route forward will be found — this approach obviously sits well with the Australian egalitarian approach. When the route forward is agreed upon in the meeting, then a detailed work schedule will be implemented for completion after the meeting. Being over-prepared for meetings can result in certain negative feelings towards those who have prepared in advance as they can be seen to be trying to dictate and force their ideas on other people.

If agendas are produced, they tend to be followed loosely. If something important arises during the open debate it will not be excluded simply because it does not occur on the agenda.

A brief overview of some key concepts to consider when doing business in Australia

Written and Produced by Keith Warburton

Free Download


This country profile has been produced to give a short overview of some of the key concepts to bear in mind when doing business with contacts in Australia. It is intended to be an aid to business people who have commercial dealings with counterparties in the country but should not be seen as an exhaustive guide to this topic or as a substitute for more substantial research should there be a need.

With this in mind, we have covered the areas which are key to a better understanding of the cultural mindset underpinning business dealings in Australia and which are, quite often, extremely different from the approach and thought processes associated with business in other parts of the world.

Therefore this briefing note is broken into short, bite-sized sections on the following topics:

  • Background to business
  • Business Structures
  • Management style
  • Meetings
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Women in business
  • Entertaining
  • Top tips