Business Etiquette in Kenya
Business Etiquette in Kenya X Tamiya King Tamiya King has been writing for over a decade, particularly in the areas of poetry and short stories. She also has extensive experience writing SEO and alternative health articles, and has written published interviews and other pieces for the “Atlanta Tribune” and Jolt Marketing. She possesses a Bachelor of Arts in English and is currently pursuing higher education to become a creative writing professor. Kenya is known for its rich agricultural economy, and particularly for its sales of premium coffee to countries all around the world.
As a professional, it’s important to be aware of Kenyan business etiquette, to secure business deals and establish positive relationships. 1. Professional Greetings * The handshake is the professional greeting for businesspeople in Kenya. When meeting someone for the first time, a short handshake is customary; longer handshakes are given between colleagues who have formed a relationship. It is proper etiquette to lower your eyes when shaking hands with someone whose professional rank is higher or is older.
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In Kenya, professional men should not shake hands with a women unless she extends her hand first.
Business Cards And Titles * There is no formal method for exchanging business cards in Kenya; this can be done before or after the meeting. However, it is acceptable etiquette to accept and give business cards with both hands. Because Kenyan professionals speak English, it is also not necessary to translate one side of the business card into Swahili, the other official language of Kenya. When addressing someone in the business meeting, it is important to use the individual’s title or honorific and surname.
It is inappropriate to address a professional by his first name unless invited to do so. Punctuality And Meeting Agenda * When doing business in the urban areas of Kenya, professionals are expected to show up on time. If a businessperson is going to be late for any reason, it is acceptable etiquette to call the receptionist at the meeting location. In the villages of the country, it is common for individuals to be significantly late, but international professionals should still strive to be on time.
Small talk is unavoidable, and may take up a significant part of the meeting; businesspeople from other countries should engage in casual conversation willingly, so as not to seem rude. The eldest person in the room is often designated as the meeting’s chairperson, and will begin and end the meeting. Negotiations * During negotiations at a Kenyan business meeting, it is important to remain pleasant, and to refrain from harsh or disapproving language. Negotiations can take awhile in some cases, but displaying aggression will cause international colleagues to be viewed negatively by Kenyans.
Bargaining is often a part of negotiations, so all professionals should expect to participate actively in this process. Kenyans will usually offer a higher price to those who are from other countries. When the final price is reached, Kenyans will forget about any disagreements that took place during the negotiation process. Giving Gifts * It is important for professionals from other countries not to present Kenyan businesspeople with gifts that are very expensive, as this can be seen as bribery. Gifts that contain the company logo of the international colleague are welcomed.
It is also acceptable to give a gift to a colleague who has just returned from a vacation or business trip to another country; giving token gifts from the country the professional has just visited is in keeping with proper etiquette. * Meeting Management Tipswww. itbusinessedge. com/meetingtips Free Slideshow Offers 10 Tips to Running More Effective Meeting Read more: Business Etiquette in Kenya | eHow. com http://www. ehow. com/about_6506511_business-etiquette-kenya. html#ixzz1RyLosTxd Western business practices prevail, and a formal handshake (using the right hand) is the standard greeting between men.
It is customary to lower your gaze when greeting someone who is older or of a higher professional rank. Men should not shake hands with a woman unless she extends her hand first. Address Kenyans by their surname and title unless you are invited to use their first name. Suits are the expected attire for business meetings, though a shirt and tie will suffice in less formal situations. Kenyans are quite conservative and advance appointments are required for meetings and call ahead if you are likely to be late. Most businesspeople speak English and it is customary to exchange business cards.
Small talk is normal and it may take some time to get to the point of a meeting. The eldest person in the room is often designated as chairperson. When negotiating a price, some haggling is expected, but angry exchanges are to be avoided. If exchanging gifts, do not choose items with a high value as this may be seen as an attempted bribe. Businesses and government offices in Kenya are open Monday to Friday from 0900-1300 and 1400-1700. Some offices also are open on Saturdays from 0815 to noon. Office hours: Mon-Fri 0900-1300 and 1400-1700. Economy:
The Kenyan economy is largely agricultural and its biggest exports in this sector are tea, coffee and horticultural products like flowers and vegetables destined for European supermarkets. Kenya is also one of the few African countries with a significant dairy industry. The manufacturing sector produces cement, paper, textiles, rubber and metal products amongst other goods. The post-election crisis in early 2008, coupled with effects of the global recession, reduced Kenya’s GDP growth to 1. 7%, but since then, the economy has improved significantly and by the end of 2010, GDP growth was put at 4%.
Unemployment is difficult to measure in Kenya, but was estimated as 40% in 2008. In the service sector, tourism is the largest industry and principal source of foreign exchange, which earns the country about US$7. 4 million per year. Visitor numbers in 2010 reached an all time high of just over 1 million. Main urban centres, such as Mombasa and Nairobi, and most international hotels have conference facilities. Nairobi’s Kenyatta International Conference Centre is the country’s largest facility. GDP: US$29. 4 billion (2010). Main exports: