Seychelles is one of the countries in Africa where English is one of the most common languages - along with Seychellois Creole and French. It’s a common destination for international business travel, particularly for those interested in tourism. For the hospitality, travel, and tourism industries, business is booming!
Here’s what you need to know about doing business in Seychelles:
The handshake is the most common form of greeting, though some women will kiss each other on the cheek if they are acquaintances or friends. It is common for men to shake women’s hands, and vice versa.
Business cards may or may not be exchanged. It isn’t common for people to give you their business card, though they will usually accept yours.
English is one of the three languages spoken in the country, so it should be fairly easy to communicate with your counterpart. Direct, honest communication is always advised so maintain eye contact when speaking.
Once you are introduced, expect to be called by your first name during the meetings. Things are fairly informal in most business settings. However, always make sure to address older, more senior professionals by their surname, with a Mr. or Mrs. before the name.
Executives in Seychelles like to get to know the person with whom they are interacting, so a good portion of your meeting will be spent in small talk and exchanging stories. This is a part of the process, and you should be ready to share a bit about yourself.
The atmosphere in the country is very relaxed, so don’t expect to achieve a lot in a short amount of time. It takes many hours to get things accomplished.
The weather in Seychelles makes it VERY difficult to wear formal business attire, so it’s not common to see people in suit and tie. Go for a light cotton shirt and a comfortable pair of pants, or if you’re a woman, stick with a simple, not-too-revealing blouse and a knee-length skirt.
Note: It may be a good idea to have a suit and tie handy, and possibly even wear it to your initial meeting. You don’t want to underdress, and you can always remove the suit jacket and tie once the meeting begins.
If you are being invited out for a business dinner, the dress code is the same as during the day. Women are encouraged to dress up, and men should always wear pants.
Time is not valued as highly in Seychelles as in other countries, and it’s common for your counterparts to arrive late to meetings or make you wait. You should always make it a point to arrive on time, however, for it gives your hosts a good impression. Just expect a bit of a wait.
Office hours are between 8 AM and 4 PM, Monday through Friday. Some businesses are open on Saturday, though only between 8 AM and 12 noon.
Follow these business etiquette tips above, and you’ll find your business trip to Seychelles will be very productive!
Image source: http://www.seychellesprestige.com