Don't overlook Canada as a potential place for work. Since the country is often overshadowed by its powerhouse of a neighbor, the United States of America, many businessmen tend to ignore Canada. But you know what? There are so many work and business opportunities here that you'd be a fool not to think about. Big money and big business await those courageous enough to venture in to Canada's corporate world. But before you do, make sure you'll know what to do. Like speaking in both English and French and not wearing perfume, Canada's business etiquette has many rules you'll need to follow in order to do business here!
Always Arrive on Time
It probably goes without saying, but business culture and etiquette in Canada
, just like in the rest of the world, requires you to always arrive on time. Be it for a normal day for work or an important meeting, arriving on time, or even a few minutes early, is always a good idea. Although Canadians are generally nice people, there are a few things they don't tolerate when they do business. Tardiness is one of them. If you arrive 10 to 15 minutes late, they'll consider you rude, inept, and inconsiderate. Only in social gatherings are you allowed to arrive fashionably late, which is only up to 15 minutes after the set time.
When it comes to your attire, dressing conservatively is the way to go. It's the same when you're finding a job
and you get invited for an interview. It's always a good idea to wear a tailored suit, both for men and women. The latter, on the other hand, also has the option of wearing mid-length dresses. As for colors, muted tones and neutral shades are more appropriate. Stray away from bright and loud colors they may find it too distracting or worse, garish. Always remember that first impressions can last for a long time so what you wear matters a lot!
Don't Wear Perfume
Continuing on with the subject of what not to wear, put perfumes and other strong scents on the top of that list! This also includes strong after-shaves, hairspray, and the like. Asthma and allergies are common among Canadians, so if your scent is strong, it risks overwhelming some people around you. You can still go for softer and milder fragrances, ones that'll keep you smelling fresh all day long. But as far as Canada's business attire is concerned, do away with the designer perfumes
. You can always reserve those for when you go to social gatherings instead.
Maintain Eye Contact
When you're interacting with your Canadian colleagues and clients, you should always maintain eye contact. From the time you give your first greetings to when you say goodbye, always look them in the eye when you speak to them. Of course, Canadian business etiquette dictates that you shouldn't look too directly at them as they might interpret it in various ways, some of which may be awkward and bad. However, as long as you maintain proper eye contact, they'll note your confidence and respect you more as someone worth doing business with.
Learn to Speak English and French
It's important to remember that Canada is actually a bilingual country. French is just as common of a language as English in this country, and as such, you ought to learn both if you want to succeed in this business landscape. And learning the basics isn't enough either! Though you don't have to be fluent in French, you should still know more beyond greetings, pleasantries, and small talk. Also, do note that there are slight differences between the Canadian-French language to that of the French language in France. When you want to do business in Canada, you'd do well to learn French here.
Make Your Business Cards Bilingual
On that note, business card etiquette in Canada dictates that you ought to have your business cards bilingual too. Make one side in English and the other in French. That's the common way to do it around here. Even if you're working in an English-speaking part of the country, you never know who you might bump into or get introduced to along the way. And since there are a ton of French-speaking Canadian businessmen/women out there, handing out business cards that they'd understand is a must! Just make sure that both sides are legible enough.
Business Lunches Don't Include Alcohol
Going out on a business lunch here in Canada? Don't expect to drink any alcohol! While other countries, particularly in Europe, have wine as the common beverage to accompany their meals, it's a little different in this part of the world. One of the many Canadian business etiquette's do's and don'ts is that you don't
drink alcohol during the day. And yes, that also includes social gatherings such as business lunches and the like. You might drink it at dinner, but not during your mid-day meal! So if you're tasked to choose a place to eat, avoid bars!
Don't Refuse Invitations
In that same regard, when someone asks you out to a business lunch/dinner, or even after-work drinks, don't refuse outright. Many Canadians find it rude when people immediately refuse invitations. For colleagues, they'll think you're a wet blanket and not part of the team. For potential clients, you risk insulting their good nature for trying to get to know you better beyond the confines of the office. Only when you have a pressing matter at hand will refusing an invitation be valid. But if you don't have a valid excuse, just go and have fun!
In order to guarantee that you win big when working in Canada, you have to follow its business etiquette. Only then will you seal the deal, get promoted, and earn the big bucks that you've worked for!