Home > Business Resource Vaults > The Nature of Business Relationship and Communication Style in South Africa

The Nature of Business Relationship and Communication Style in South Africa

The 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa is getting nearer, isn’t it? It is not just a feast for Africans and football enthusiasts, it is also a celebration for many businesses. For sure, on different corners of South Africa, especially in areas near the game venues, the atmosphere will be all about business. You’re a poor businessman if you will not take advantage of this event. Outside the arenas where players are chasing each other, where fans are screaming up to the top of their lungs, the name of the game is to profit. For both small and big business, this event is their time to shine.

However, just because the opportunity in investing in Africa at this point is abundant, doesn’t mean you are more likely to succeed. There are many thing you need to learn aside from business strategic planning and leadership development. But don’t, what trying to get at here isn’t that complicated. You don’t need to make initial researches, you can learn it even if the 2010 FIFA World Cup is about to happen. Business relationship and communication style, this can be one of the main ingredients to become successful in doing business in a foreign land, especially African countries.

First, there are two kind of South African, the black and the white. And they are different when dealing with visitors and business. White South Africans prefer plain-speaking than an overly diplomatic approach. They scrutinize each words that comes out from the person they are talking to. This is to assure that there is sincerity and commitment. Black South Africans are usually using diplomacy in communication and very observant. They let the person they are talking with finish first before they raise questions. And also, depending on the person’s cultural heritage, communication style may vary.

In common business situations, Africans like to be called in their first names. Greetings are necessary, especially for the first meeting as a sign of respect and welcome. Usually, it should be preceded by Ms or Mr. They are transactional and do not require to build personal relationships for business use. They also use metaphors and sports analogies to clear out their points. South Africans always choose face-to-face confrontations than email, letter or phone.

In making appointments, South Africans would go for the one with advance consent. Meetings should can be formal or informal, but what’s important is that you will send a letter summarizing the outcome of it. Business attires can be formal or informal, but at least, for men, wear dark coloured shirts and elegant business suit or dress for women.

By knowing how your new business environment interact, surely you won’t find trouble dealing with its people. That will make your image more desirable for Africans, especially to those who are involved to your business. Business will move in a smooth flow and profits will keep coming.

But you need to remember one point, South Africa is multicultural. When the 2010 FIFA World Cup event comes, you will need to work harder in establishing business relationship and communication style.

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