Canadian Meeting Etiquette

In comparison with meetings in the US, meetings in Canada are relatively more formal. Thus punctuality is expected and meetings often start with some type of polite small talk. Body language tends to be quite reserved with few visible shows of emotion or anger.

Meetings procedures usually follow the Anglo-Saxon approach of one at a time speaking and interruptions are generally frowned upon and considered to be rude. Everybody expects a democratic right to be allowed to have their say within the meeting and for their opinions and views to be respected, regardless of position within the organisation.

It is unusual for meetings to become aggressive or heated as great emphasis is placed upon being courteous and polite. If a meeting seems to be heading for overt confrontation, most Canadians would prefer to calm things down.

Attendees at meetings are expected to be well prepared as decisions tend to be taken on the basis of empirical facts rather than on hunches or gut reactions. Inability to provide the relevant level of detail could be viewed as suspicious and evasive behaviour.

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

Written and Produced by Keith Warburton

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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 Canada. 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 Canada 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