This past Spring, PALS President Brenda Arbeláez traveled with the Michigan Association for Female Entrepreneurs (MAFE) to Dubai to attend the Global Women Leaders Conference, in preparation for the Expo 2020 Dubai. Brenda’s specific knowledge and understanding of cultural diversity and awareness gives her an advantage when traveling, and she has outlined eight tips to maximize the success of your next business trip to this popular business destination.
1) Dress for business: No matter what the climate is in Dubai, a suit and tie is a must. Women should dress modestly. While Dubai is very cosmopolitan, always be aware of its roots in Islamic culture.
2) Treat everyone as if they are a Sheik: When a man puts on a “dishdasha,” the flowing robes that function as a business suit, weekend wear and everything in between, you never know who the assistant is and who’s the CEO. Maybe that’s the point.
3) Don’t bring up business in your first meeting: It may be a general chat, or even a garden stroll. When it’s time to talk business, you host will bring it up. It might not happen until the 2nd meeting – if you get one.
4) Don’t assume that everyone will shake hands: Some traditional Muslim women may not feel comfortable shaking hands. It’s best to let Muslim women offer their hand first, when introduced.
5) Shaking your coffee cup: It’s a common and polite way to signal that you are done. Otherwise you will be stuck in an endless cycle of refills from a “coffee boy” who will stand beside you until you have finished.
6) Don’t assume your taxi driver knows where he is going: Ask the hotel concierge for directions before you head out. Dubai has changed a great deal in the last few years. There are no street numbers, and a taxi driver could circle the city for hours.
7) Fly in on a Saturday: The beginning of the work week is Sunday in Dubai, and it runs from Sunday through Thursday.
8) Don’t go to Dubai in July or August: Most decisions makers are vacationing at this time because it is phenomenally hot and humid. Dubai has the opposite of “wind chill.”
Dubai is great place for business interaction. Arming yourself with cultural know-how will get you off to a strong start.
PALS INTERNATIONAL offers a personalized approach to Language Training, Cultural Awareness Training and Translation and Interpretation Services. Give us a call to get started today: (248) 362-2060.