As would be expected in a country as diverse as South Africa it is difficult to give an overview of what to expect in a meeting situation in a few words.
Meeting styles will differ depending upon who you are dealing with – a traditional, white-dominated business, a start-up black African company or the subsidiary of a multi-national located in Johannesburg or Cape Town.
However, it is possible to give a few simple tips which are worth bearing in mind. Firstly, South Africans expect you to have a good idea of the current situation on the ground in South Africa. Show that you have done your research and that you have adapted your policies or ideas to meet the local conditions.
Secondly, take time in the meeting to try to develop a good relationship with the people you are doing business with. This is important within all sections of South African society as relationships have always formed the basis of good business – regardless of cultural background.
Thirdly, avoid anything that could be considered a hard sell approach. It is much better to be understated and patient with South African contacts as being too pushy will probably alienate people.
This country-specific business culture profile was written by Keith Warburton who is the founder of the cultural awareness training consultancy Global Business Culture.
Global Business culture is a leading training provider in the fields of cross-cultural communication and global virtual team working. We provide training to global corporations in live classroom-based formats, through webinars and also through our cultural awareness digital learning hub, Global Business Compass.
This World Business Culture profile is designed as an introduction to business culture in South Africa only and a more detailed understanding needs a more in-depth exploration which we can provide through our training and consultancy services.
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