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

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Overview

Australia has been through an unprecedented period of quarter-upon-quarter GDP growth, mainly fuelled by the rapid growth of the Chinese economy and China’s seemingly limitless demand for the natural resources which are abundant in Australia. This export-led growth trajectory has been in efffect for a number of decades and has enabled Australians to enjoy an enviable lifestyle.

The benefits which have accrued from its relationship with China (and other Asian economies) have allowed Australia to develop a sophisticated service sector and at the same time build state-of-the-art infrastructure across the vastness that of a country that is also a continent. However, there is also some fragility inherent in that success – what impact might recession in China have on Australia? Would employment be severely damaged if such a recession were to occur?

If you are considering doing business in Australia – and there are many reasons why you should – you need to do some research on the business culture you are likely to find when you get there. Despite historic links to the UK many observers feel that Australian business culture is more akin to the way things are done in the US. At Global Business Culture we believe that Australia takes after neither the UK nor the US and that it has developed its own distinct and unique approach.

If you arrive in Sydney thinking you can do business in Australia in the same way it is done in any other culture, you are likely to be proved wrong. Australians have a strong sense of self-reliance and their business culture reflects that characteristic.

This country profile provides an overview of some of the key aspects of Australian business culture in a concise, easy to follow-format. The document includes information on:

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