Are you traveling to Australia for a vacation? Do you need to go to Australia for business? Would you like to study in Australia?
Here is a guide on the Australian culture, customs, and etiquettes to help you understand its people better.
Languages in Australia
The primary language used in Australia is English; however, their accent, slangs, phonetics, and the colorful vocabulary may take a little getting used to. Apart from English, about 20 Aboriginal languages and dialects, and the languages of European, Asian, and Middle Eastern migrants also exist.
Society and Culture
- Aussies are down to earth and try hard not to give the impression that they are superior to anybody
- Authenticity and sincerity are valued while pretentiousness is loathed
- Modesty, humbleness, and a sense of humor are appreciated by Aussies
- They do not draw attention to their achievements and academics, and often downplay their own success
- Aussies place a high value on relationships
- Australia has a small population and hence getting along with everyone is important as you never know when you cross paths
- The initial Aussie population was made up of Aborigines and people of Irish and British descent. However, after World War 2 Australia saw heavy migration from Europe, especially from Italy, Greece, the Netherlands, Germany, Yugoslavia, Turkey, and Lebanon. This was in response to Australian trying proactively to attract migrants to boost the population as well as workforce.
- In the last 3 decades, Australia has liberalized its immigration stand and has opened its gates to South East Asia
- Immigration changed Australia’s self-perception and it began re-defining itself as a multi-faith and multi-cultural society
Australian Customs and Etiquettes
- Aussies are not very formal and greetings are more than often relaxed and casual. A smile and a handshake are sufficient.
- While it is normal for an Australian to say “G’day mate” foreigners should restrict themselves to Hi and Hello as it may sound patronizing
- Australian prefer to use first names even though you may be meeting them for the first time
- Small gifts are usually exchanged with family, relatives, neighbors, and close friends during birthdays and Christmas
- When invited to someone’s home for dinner, it is considered polite to gift them a box of chocolates. A bottle of wine is also appreciated
- Aussies are fond of their barbie (barbeques) and you may be invited to one
- It is polite to arrive on time
- Contact the host or hostess to check if they would like you to bring along a dish
- Offer to help in the preparation or cleaning up after the barbeque is over
Business Customs and Etiquettes
Communications and Relationships
- Australians are pretty direct in their communication
- They do not need a long-standing personal relationship before they decide to do business with you
- Aussies have a sense of humor and may use colorful language which is uncommon in other countries
Business Meeting Etiquette
- Appointments are necessary and easy to schedule and should be made with as much lead time as possible
- Punctuality is valued in business situations
- Meetings are typically relaxed but should be considered serious events
- Avoid hype or exaggerated claims in a presentation
- Your business proposal should be based on facts and figures and not feeling and sentiments
Negotiation and decision-making
- Australians avoid small talk and get down to business quickly
- They are direct and expect the same in return
- They expect brevity and do not get impressed by too much detail
- High-pressure techniques are not liked by Australians
- Business decisions are made at the top of the company often with consultations with subordinates and hence can cause a delay in decision-making
- The business dressing is conservative in Melbourne and Sydney. Men should wear a smart business suit and women should wear a smart dress or a business suit.
- Brisbane is a little more relaxed where men may wear a shirt and a tie over Bermuda shorts
Business cards are exchanged at the first introduction; however, if you are not given one, do not be alarmed, as per Commisceo Global.
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