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The Basics of Irish Business Etiquette

July 14, 2023
Dublin doesn't get enough credit as a central business hub. The city may not play as big a part as the likes of London, New York, and Paris do, but this isn't to say that it's nothing. Ireland is still among the wealthiest countries in the world, after all. Any businessman worth their salt should know that doing business or even working here has potential. You just need to know the Irish business etiquette to do the job well. In this regard, you need to remember Ireland isn't in The UK. Never avoid eye contact too. And don't forget about getting used to Irish humor too!

The Basics of Irish Business Etiquette

Remember That Ireland Isn't In The UK

If there's one thing to know about what you should or shouldn’t do in Ireland, it's to be careful about mentioning the UK. The Irish are particular when it comes to their distinction from the British. Ireland is not part of the UK. Northern Ireland is, but not Ireland itself. And you'd do well to remember that when you're in Dublin or anywhere else in the country. Even when doing business with the Irish, a simple faux pas as saying that they're British will cost you a lot. They'd sooner throw you out of the building than continue working with you!

Always Arrive On Time

The Irish are pretty weird when it comes to punctuality. For one thing, they expect you to always arrive on time. If you're a foreigner working on Irish soil, you need to be on time for everything, whether it's a business meeting or a social gathering. But on the flip side, you'd do well to give the Irish some leeway on the same aspect. They tend to be a bit late when going to work, meetings, and the like. Though it's no more than 15 minutes late, which is still fairly acceptable here.

The Basics of Irish Business Etiquette

Never Avoid Eye Contact

Whether you're greeting someone or talking to them, always maintain eye contact. This is par for the course as this is also what businessmen in other countries prefer when communicating, but it's doubly important for the Irish. For them, maintaining eye contact denotes confidence and self-assurance. It means you're firm in your decisions and you have faith in what you have to offer. In contrast, the inability to maintain eye contact denotes untrustworthiness. Most professionals in the country won't so much as meet you a second time if you can't look them in the eye when communicating with them.

Don't Rely On Titles & Credentials Too Much

According to American business etiquette, it's customary to refer to someone by their title. Credentials are important for them and you're required to give a certain level of respect. In Ireland, on the other hand, titles and credentials aren't as important. It's still impressive if one has a doctorate and such, but it's not as big of a deal here as it is in other countries. Some would even find it rather vain or arrogant if people insist on others referring to them by their professional title. Especially if it's outside a business or academic setting.

The Basics of Irish Business Etiquette

Follow A Conservative Dress Code

The Irish corporate setting strictly follows a conservative dress code. For men, it's all about tailored suits in greyscale or neutral tones. The better it fits, the more you're likely to impress. For women, it's all about skirt suits and dresses. Be careful not to have too high a hem and avoid flashy colors and accessories. And with heels, the lower, the better. Be as conservative as can be with your outfit at work. The Irish are pretty traditional when it comes to workplace attire. So much so that women in pantsuits aren't as common here as it is in other countries.

Keep Up With Irish Humor

If you find that many of your Irish colleagues and/or clients are making jokes in the workplace, don't worry! That's actually pretty normal. The Irish are surprisingly quite relaxed when it comes to working. This isn't to say that they don't take things seriously. When it comes right down to it, they still get work done. It's just that they love joking around too (when it's still appropriate, that is). Be it in a boardroom meeting or just on an ordinary workday, they won't hesitate to say a joke or two. All you gotta do is go with the flow and laugh!

The Basics of Irish Business Etiquette

Relax During Meetings

In relation to the Irish joking around, it pays to know that you ought to relax when working too. Don't be too serious when you work, deal with negotiations, and the like. The Irish aren't like that and they don't particularly like that too. They often take their time and even engage in small talk in between presentations in a meeting. Again, this isn't to say that they don't take things seriously. They're serious when it matters. But overall, they're not as gung-ho when dealing with business as you might think.

Avoid Talking About Politics and Religion

Finally, always avoid politics and religion. If your business doesn't have anything to do with one of the others, it's best not to mention them at all. Unlike the British, the Americans, and many other nationalities out there, the Irish aren't exactly the most political. They're aware of the various issues in the world, sure, but they rarely dip their toes in it if it's not necessary. So when chatting with Irish businessmen, be it in a work or social setting, these two topics are off the table!

The Basics of Irish Business Etiquette

If you ever want to do business in Ireland, you should at least know the basics of Irish business etiquette. This will make your work that much easier. And who knows? You might even seal the deal much sooner than you realize!

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