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Business Customs- Dos and Don’ts

Relationships & Communication

DO expect spending a lot of time in the getting-to-know-you process. Kuwaitis prefer to do business with those they know well.

DO mention if you have an advanced degree, as Kuwaitis value education.

DON’T be impatient. It is viewed as criticism of the culture.

Dress Etiquette

DO dress conservatively. Men should wear lightweight, good quality, conservative suits, at least to the initial meeting and women should avoid wearing revealing or tight fitting clothes.

DON’T display the bottom of your shoe sole during meetings as it is considered disrespectful

Titles

DO use the honorific "Mister" and any academic or political title and the first name. Titles are important.

DO understand that "Sheikh" is used for people of the royal family as well as old people.

DON’T use only the first name until expressly invited to drop the titles.

Business Meeting Etiquette

DO expect a bit of getting-to-know you chit-chat in the beginning of the meeting.

DO understand that meetings might be interrupted if they are during prayer times.

DO expect frequent interruptions.

DON’T try to bring the topic back to the original discussion until the new person leaves if interrupted.

DON'T schedule meetings in July or August. The summer heat is strong during those months and many Kuwaitis leave the country.

Business Negotiating

DO keep proposals clean and simple, and avoid high pressure sales tactics.

DO repeat your main points. It indicates you are telling the truth.

DO be patient. Decisions happen slowly and go through a hierarchy.

DO expect negotiations to be done in English and contracts to be written in both Arabic and English.

DON’T expect business meetings to have strict time limits. Kuwaitis are event rather than time-driven.

DON'T change your negotiating team.

DON’T use high-pressure sales tactics. They will work against you.

Business Cards

DO exchange business cards

DO have one side of your business card printed into Arabic


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