Business etiquette in South Africa

Hello everybody,

As you know, professional habits may differ from one country to another. In order to help newly arrived expats better understand their new professional environment in South Africa, we warmly encourage you to share information and insights about the do’s and don’ts in the workplace.

For instance, are there office manners? How do you greet your co-workers? Do you greet your management differently? Is there a dress code? Particular rules to observe? Maybe a professional body language?

On another level, what is key for a successful professional meeting? Are there any steps to follow? How do you a start a negotiation?

In other words, what are the most important things to know for a successful professional integration in South Africa?

Thank you in advance for sharing your experience!


In theory, South Africa shares a lot of the common British business practices, so all the basics apply: a lot of "Please and thank you's", and always arrive on time.

Dress code tends to be more formal the higher your pay grade is ... for regular business meetings, however, it's not unusual to go just in jeans and a business shirt with a collar (it shows you're professional but still down-to-earth).

In practice, it all depends on the individuals you're dealing with. From being late to being incredibly rushed in meetings (particularly with executives whose time is at a premium), the best you can do is just take your guidance from the person you're visiting and get to the point as soon as possible.

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