Business Etiquette

Greeting –The common greeting depends upon the ethnic origin and age of the person. Ethnic Malay men shake hands with one another. Younger Bruneians may shake hands with foreign women or bow their head in greeting. It is considered respectful to bow your head to someone senior to yourself. If invited to someone’s house, bringing good quality chocolates or fruit is appreciated. Honorific titles are Awang for a man and Dayang for a woman. Business cards are typically exchanged.

Dress Code – The men are dressed in shirts, tailored pants and matching ties while the women are expected to wear conservative blouses, pants or skirts. Jeans and casual wear are considered a big faux pas.

Body Language – Pointing is done with the thumb. Always present and receive items with your right hand. Silence and forms of a non-committal yes often indicate displeasure.

Communication- Communication is formal and respectful. Bruneians often utilize an indirect and ambiguous communication style. Distance, when engaging in a conversation is encouraged. They enjoy engaging in conversations about the history of their country. Most Bruneians find emotions such as anger embarrassing, and they try and avoid them in conversations.

Things to avoid- Do not point using your forefinger as it is considered rude. You must never address the other person by their last name as well. Bruneians do not shake hands with individuals of the opposite sex unless initiated by the females first. Avoid opening the gits in front of the other person unless expected. Avoid touching a person’s back or shoulder as it is considered disrespectful. Avoid staring into the other person’s eye as it looks disrespectful. Avoid using white wrapping paper as it signifies death.


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