Business Meeting

Try not to get too involved in politics

Managers expected to balance the interests of the company, with the interests of society

Meetings tend to be very formal affairs

As in most of the Arab world, personal relationships are the key to a successful meeting and good quality relationships

Who you are and who you know really matter

You will need to have coffee and small talk and wait before starting the meeting

Egyptian Business people are much more conservative

Egyptians are very clean, and older Egyptians appreciate a conservative and well-dressed individual

Be sure to shine your shoes and make sure that everything is spotless

Egyptian business people are great at networking

You will get governmental authentication easily and all of the procedures will be simple

Initial meetings can often seem very formal to western businessmen, and involve coffee, cake and lots of small talk

Time is very elastic and agreed start and finish times should not be relied upon. Patience is very necessary

As in most of the Arabic world, people stand quite close to one another when communicating

Arabic conversation can be very hyperbolic with much use of flowery language and flattery

Business cards should be printed in English on one side and in Arabic on the other

It may sometimes appear that Egyptians are shouting at each other and in the middle of a very heated, acrimonious argument

It is best to avoid discussing political issues or enquiring about female relatives of business acquaintances

When dealing with government officials, it is important to learn the titles of any contacts as titles are of considerable importance,

It is important to research any company before approaching it in order to determine whether it is state-owned or private and secular or Islamic in orientation

When doing business with an Islamic oriented organisation, do not overlook the potential impact of religious issues on any decision- making process

Business is driven by relationships and therefore a great deal of resource and time should be allocated to the development of key contacts

It is useful to have an Egyptian agent do to business

Business will not proceed until your counterpart decides that they like you

Expecting immediate results is not wise

It is safest to wait for your counterpart to initiate the greeting, especially at a first meeting

Make eye-contact when meeting with your Egyptian business associates

If an Egyptian holds your hand, accept this as a gesture of friendship

The left hand is considered unclean in Egypt

Pointing is considered extremely rude

Do not cross your legs when sitting

Egyptian companies tend to be hierarchical

Give direct instructions If something is not specifically requested, it may not get done

Meetings can involve sitting in rooms with unknown people who are simultaneously meeting your contact

Time is very flexible and meetings may start very late

Levels of eye contact are very strong as it denotes sincerity

Avoid touching anybody with your left hand or pointing feet at people

Do not comment on the political situation in the Middle East

Do not say any comments about the influence of Islam

Women play a more prominent role than in some other Middle Eastern countries

Make sure to have research and documentation to support your claims

Your documents should include two dates: the Gregorian (Western) and the Hijrah (Arabic) date


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