Business Etiquette 101: Tips For Travelers In Ghana

Companies around the world see Ghana as a land of economic opportunity. So it should come as no surprise that business travel to the region is booming, alongside leisure tourism.

If you go to Ghana to do business, use these 15 tips to ensure your transactions, interactions and meetings go smoothly and without a hitch.

1. Use Handshakes

Handshakes are the commonly accepted greeting in Ghana. When meeting a woman, wait for her to initiate the handshake. For large gatherings, start with the first person on your right side and go around the room to the left. Touch only the palm and not the back of the hand.

2. Be Flexible With Your Meeting Times

Flexibility is a key part of negotiations. People may show up later than scheduled, so plan for longer meetings to cover all the details. Always keep your appointment time even if other partners are late. This shows your reliability as well as a dedication to success.

3. Get To Know Your Work Colleagues

It is important in Ghana to share about health, family and other lifestyle issues. Some meetings will appear to be all about other issues rather than business and building a rapport can strengthen work relationships.

4. Maintain Eye Contact

Maintain eye contact when meeting new clients. This shows that you are trustworthy and gives the impression that you care about everyone you encounter. Use this technique for first impressions with both men and women.

5. Use Your Right Hand When Giving Out Business Cards

Business cards are still a valuable tool in Ghana. Use your right hand when giving out business cards. Never present a card with your left hand as it is considered a rude gesture.

6. Silence Is Important

Silence instead of a constant talking style is valued by residents. Many people in Ghana feel that statements which could offend or hurt the feeling of another person are more likely to occur if a conversation continues over a long period of time.

7. Use Local Sayings And Proverbs

Local sayings and proverbs are used frequently in most discussions. It is considered a helpful method of expressing ideas on both a personal and professional level. Carefully asses any sayings to gauge their meaning before repeating them.

8. Greet The Most Senior Participants First

It is important to greet the most senior person in the room first. This is a sign of respect and takes into consideration which person has been delegated to speak for the group. Ask someone how to greet those in the room if you are still unsure about the situation.

9. Be Careful With Humor

Do not try humor until you know if it is accepted among the group. Let the Ghanaians set the tone for the discussion. If humorous statements are allowed, it will convey that the person you are meeting with is comfortable about the situation.

10. Use Titles When Addressing People

If a person or colleague has a title such as Dr., greet them with their name as well as the appropriate title. It must also be used when referring to the person when they are not currently in the room.

11. Smile When You First Meet Someone

Smile when you meet people. It is thought to represent good intentions and show that you are friendly to everyone involved. The gesture also establishes a positive atmosphere for meetings.

12. Invitations Are Welcome

Invite fellow workers to events. It does not matter if you know the person extremely well or have just met them. Ghanaians view being included as crucial to a good business relationship.

13. Give Up Your Seat To Older Individuals

If all seats are taken, younger people in the room must give up their spots to older individuals. Do not address the age of the individual. Instead, offer your seat with as little conversation as possible.

14. Hand Gestures Matter

There are some common gestures that can be used to convey a range of situations. For example, scratching the palm of your left hand means money. Be sure that your understand the meaning of your gesture before using it in conversation.

15. Watch Your Language

As with other business deals, avoid slang or possibly offensive terms. Never tell someone to shut up or refer to anyone foolish or stupid. If you are unsure about a word or its usage, politely ask someone about what they consider acceptable.


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