How to behave while networking in Glasgow

networking etiquette
Updated 2019-08-21 14:10

Making use of the bustling business centre in Glasgow may be much easier if you know how to act around potential business contacts. You don't want to lose out on great opportunities because you accidentally alienated an important industry professional. That being said, Glaswegians are typically friendly and are likely to understand any cultural differences causing social conflict while networking in Glasgow as it is a very multicultural city. This also means that your efforts to conform to local etiquette may be noticed, and much appreciated, by local professionals.

Social etiquette in Glasgow

Glaswegians appreciate a firm handshake. Try to shake hands when you first meet someone, and when you say goodbye. Further physical contact is not necessary and may make Glaswegians uncomfortable. Hugs are reserved for close friends and family; kisses are reserved for family and romantic partners.

If you are meeting people for food, you should follow Glasgow dining etiquette, which is very similar to the etiquette in the rest of the UK. In general, avoid making unpleasant noises and being messy. Use your knife in your dominant hand, and your fork in your non-dominant hand. British people do not move their cutlery between hands when eating or place either implement on the table before taking a bite. Something you may not expect is that a lot of people eat pizza with a knife and fork at restaurants in the UK.

In terms of conversation, there are a few things you should avoid saying in Scotland. For example, one thing that tends to annoy Scottish people is the use of the word 'Scotch' instead of 'Scottish'. Although scotch technically means Scottish, it is only applicable when describing things like whisky and certain foods. Never refer to a person as 'Scotch'. Additionally, try to use British-English vocabulary. And with written communication, be respectful of British-English spelling. Glaswegians will appreciate the effort. If you can, incorporate words from the Glaswegian dialect.

Typical small talk topics include the weather and recent sporting events. People will likely be interested in where you are from and tell you about any experiences they've had in your country. A sense of humour is also common during small talk. If you do not understand the joke, simply smile and say you don't understand, rather than pretend you get it. People may enjoy explaining local jokes and references to you.

It is also worth mentioning that at most networking events, alcohol is provided. And, in the case that you're meeting in a restaurant, it is common to engage in social drinking. Avoid having too much to drink, however. This may make you look unprofessional or unreliable. If you decide not to drink, this will be okay too. But if someone offers to share a bottle of wine with the table, it is polite to accept this proposal. Try to be gracious if you are turning down an offer of an alcoholic beverage.

The dress code in Glasgow

Although Scottish people are generally friendly, this does not mean they're informal. Many networking events will be advertised as 'formal'. This means attendees should wear a suit, including women, who often wear suits to formal events, either with trousers or a skirt. Formal dresses would also be appropriate for women. At more ceremonial formal events, men may be seen wearing traditional Scottish attire, i.e., a kilt. It is far less common to see women doing this at anything but cultural events. If you are not from Scotland, you will not be expected to wear the traditional attire, but it would not be considered offensive if you were to do so. However, the whole outfit can be quite complicated, so maybe avoid wearing tartan until you've been in Scotland for a while.

If you go to an informal networking event in Glasgow, like social meetups or some professional networks, you can wear anything you'd like. However, being tidy and clean is always appreciated. Additionally, avoid wearing inappropriate slogans or images on your clothing.

Overall, you are unlikely to run into trouble for conducting yourself badly in Glasgow but understanding the etiquette can help your expatriation go smoothly.

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