WORKING ABROAD / AUG. 14, 2014
version 6, draft 6

How to Master Business Etiquette in Barbados

Hard workers, a developed country, an educated workforce and tremendous weather. This is how the Eastern Caribbean island of Barbados can be described in a nutshell. Despite its low gross domestic product and lack of growth, it’s still an A-plus country for starting fresh or doing business in.

Barbados has achieved its affluence from offshore finance and information services. Although one would surmise that it would maintain an ultra successful tourism industry, the fact is that it has been weak since the recession started. In addition, the government is starting to implement austerity measures.

One of the benefits that Barbados enjoys is that it is in the same eastern time zone as prominent United States financial centers. Another advantage that Barbados has that other island nations do not or lack: highly educated workers, which means that once opportunities arise then workers will be able to fulfil the required tasks.

Here are five business etiquettes to know in Barbados:

Communication

English is the official language of Barbados, but Bajan is another widely spoken language, which is described as an English-based creole language that is widely spoken in informal settings.

Dress Code

During formal arrangements, women should wear light cotton dresses, while men should be sporting a shirt and tie and sometimes a jacket. When visiting the bank in your off-time you should always be wearing pants and a shirt out of respect. Casual wear is permitted in your leisure time when not on the beach.

Greetings

When men meet each other, whether it’s for the very first time or if they are already acquainted, they will shake hands and say “wha’ happenin’ man?” Women will hug, kiss or stand around exchanging pleasantries.

Manners are very important in Barbados, particularly to the elderly residents. Throughout the entire day – morning, afternoon or evening – everyone will be mannerly and maintain a nice demeanor with each other.

Professional Titles & Business Cards

There are no specific rules as to how to address someone you have met for the very first time. It would be a common sense approach to call them Mr. and Mrs. followed by their surname.

Handing out business cards is akin to maintaining a group of salespeople. For instance, individuals will carry around various business cards and when they meet someone who mentions they need a product or a service completed then the initial person will hand them this business card and offer a testimonial.

Punctuality

In Barbados, there is something called “bajan time.” This means that when event is scheduled for 9 a.m. it actually will begin sometime later. What this suggests is that being on time isn’t very important to Barbados as they will give their time freely to those they want to keep company with.

Barbados is a very simple and relaxed country. Its people enjoy life but also understand how to earn a dollar. Its people are polite but aren’t fastidious when it comes to their views on time and punctuality. Perhaps it’s the weather that has transformed Barbados into a calming environment.

Have you previously conducted business in Barbados? Let us know in the comment section.

Photo by Neil Gibbs via Telegraph

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