Local Saudi Etiquettes Unveiled: Your Passport to Cultural Success
As newcomers to Saudi Arabia, it’s crucial for you to develop a deep understanding of the local culture. Respect for and comprehension of these cultural aspects play a vital role in fostering successful interactions, both professionally and socially. Fret not, this blog has got you covered.
Let’s acquaint ourselves with the local culture, customs, and etiquette to promote positive relationships and effective communication.
Personal Space: Saudis generally value personal space and may maintain a certain level of formality in interpersonal interactions. Gender segregation is common in public spaces and some social settings.
Power Distance: Saudi Arabia follows a high-power distance culture, accepting hierarchical order.
Respect for Hierarchy: Strong respect for hierarchical structures exists in both the workplace and society.
Formality in Communication: Communication often follows formal channels, with a level of formality when addressing higher-ranking individuals. Titles and proper forms of address are commonly used to show respect.
Food: Sharing meals is a common practice. Traditional dishes include kebabs, rice dishes, and sweets. Hospitality is highly valued,
Customs & Values: Saudi Arabia’s culture is deeply rooted in Islamic principles, emphasizing respect for elders, hospitality, and community. Modesty, humility, and politeness are highly valued attitudes.
Relationships: Building strong personal relationships is crucial, often established through long-term connections and personal networks. Trust is a significant factor in relationships.
Methods & Decision Making: Decision-making is typically hierarchical, with authority respected. Key decisions are often made at the highest levels, and consensus and input from stakeholders are valued.
Communication & Learning Styles: Communication tends to be indirect and polite, with significant importance given to non-verbal cues, gestures, and body language.
Work Ethics : Hard work and dedication are respected in the workplace. Friday and Saturday being the weekend. During Ramadan, working hours may be adjusted.
Negotiating Styles: Negotiations involve building personal relationships and establishing trust. Patience is key, and face-to-face meetings are preferred for important negotiations over written communication.
Grooming & Hygiene
- Wear clean, ironed clothes to work.
- Apply deodorant and always carry a mouth freshener.
- Use mouth freshener/ spray every time after smoking.
- Always carry a clean handkerchief.
- Cover your face when coughing, yawning or sneezing
- Strictly no scratching, nose & ear picking in public
Business Meeting Etiquettes
- Appointments are necessary and relatively easy to schedule.
- If there is any deviation from the agenda, share it in advance.
- Punctuality is important in business situations.
- Meetings are generally relaxed; however, they are serious events.
- If you make a presentation, avoid hype, making exaggerated claims, present facts & figures in the support.
- Leave the meeting room clean, take all the papers along and put chair back in place.
- Carry stationary.
- Don’t interrupt, raise hand.
- Never interrupt the speaker.
- Difference of opinion should be handled tactfully rather than an argument.
- Avoid using complicated or flowery language.
Mobile Phone Etiquettes
- Phone must be on vibration or on silent mode
- Restrict personal phone calls at workplace & avoid loud phone conversations
- Make official calls during normal business hours
- DO NOT use official phone to make personal calls.
- Keep your volume low when talking over the phone.
To Sum it Up
Embracing the local etiquettes of Saudi Arabia isn’t merely a necessity; it’s an invaluable opportunity to delve into a culture that’s as vibrant as it is profound. By comprehending and respecting these customs, we not only foster meaningful connections but also lay the groundwork for successful collaborations, facilitating seamless integration into both professional and social circles. Be ready to embark on this enlightening cultural expedition with open minds and hearts, poised to embrace the diversity and splendour that Saudi Arabia abundantly offers.