Business Etiquette in Ireland (19+ Secrets to succeed)22 min read

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Business Etiquette in Ireland

As you have probably noticed, business etiquette is ever-increasingly becoming a necessary skill for success in today’s world. It’s important to be respectful and appear professional not to put your company or yourself in harm’s way. Here are some tips on what constitutes good business etiquette in Ireland that should help you and your team succeed!

In Ireland, business etiquette is vital for starters, as many people are pretty formal even when doing business. Ireland’s been influenced by the British in this regard, and the Irish tend to be somewhat reserved at first. They’ll often be very friendly once they know you better, but they can seem a little stand-offish at first!

They favor formal business correspondence more than Americans, so you must follow along if you want to appear professional.

The Irish are notoriously hard to offend, so you’re likely to keep all your warnings and disclaimers in mind as you begin corresponding with customers.

Most still prefer to do business by post rather than by phone, so include a return address and telephone number on your business letters. If you are a male, it’s also important to wear a shirt and tie if you want others to take you seriously!

The British influence is also seen in Ireland’s love of tea. If your company is doing business in Ireland, you should plan to invite others to a tea meeting. This is true of both business and personal relationships!

In addition, greetings are very important in Ireland. It’s important that when meeting anyone for the first time or making an introduction, you use the proper greeting.

This is part of our article in the business etiquette series. We have also discussed the Business Etiquette in South Africa and the Swiss Business Etiquette.

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Our tips on Business Etiquette in Ireland

1. Professionalism is vital to succeeding in Ireland

It is important to show that you respect your company, clients, and employees. Being positive and well-mannered will help your business to appear highly professional. Behaving appropriately is an important part of professional etiquette, and can also help you to advance at work and socially.

In Ireland, professionalism is all about being discreet. Irish people are highly discreet and try never to go out of their way to embarrass anyone in public, so you’ll want to be aware of that.

When organizing an event or party while doing business with the Irish, it is essential not to make a show. In Ireland, it’s more likely that your employees will go out for lunch rather than have a company-wide celebration lunch, for example. It’s important not to flaunt extravagance while doing business with them.

2. What to wear in the Ireland business scene

Dressing for work is an important consideration when it comes to business etiquette in Ireland.

In Ireland, the locals often choose to wear more casual attire instead of the corporate clothing or suits seen in America.

Many Irish prefer to wear t-shirts and jeans with a jacket during the day. Dressing like this in Ireland will help you gain new clients and make a good impression on those you meet!

However, make sure to inquire from your business partners beforehand if the company has a different business dress code. You wouldn’t want to be caught appearing dishevelled or unprepared for the day.

Business etiquette in Ireland doesn’t call for revealing materials or revealing colors.

There are no hard and fast rules for what you should wear when it comes to being professional. However, we recommend that you keep things simple and try to exude a professional air. You can achieve this by wearing simple, classic clothes that are also comfortable and appropriate for the weather.

Wear clothes that make you feel good about yourself! Avoid bold or unusual colors and styles – instead, stick with classic, neutral tones like black or grey. Be sure to wear clean clothes that are free from rips and stains.

3. Being Respectful, the Irish way

It’s important to be respectful of your fellow employees, customers, and the public when dealing with each other. Refer to the following list of rules of etiquette when working with a company’s staff or meeting new people:

  • When speaking to your leader, always use the formal “Sir or Madam.”
  • Never call a female colleague in the office by her first name without her permission. When speaking to a male colleague, however, use his first name unless instructed otherwise.
  • Avoid speaking on your phone during meetings or events. Be respectful!
  • Do not swear or scream at your business partners or employees, no matter what you’re feeling! This is not appropriate business etiquette in Ireland and will not get you anywhere with your coworkers.
  • Avoid gossiping and bringing up politics, religion, or personal relationships. It is best to focus on the work at hand and not let outside issues affect your productivity!
  • Avoid speaking about other business associates when in public. Try to keep all negative comments behind closed doors so that you don’t embarrass your team or lead to bad publicity for your company.

It’s important to be respectful of the Irish customer as well!

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4. Start with your business cards exchange

In the Irish business environment, business cards are exchanged upon opening a business meeting.

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In Ireland, business cards are an essential element of a successful business meeting. Especially in the country’s more formal industries, failing to offer your card when the meeting begins can seem unintentional and even disrespectful.

When meeting new people at business meetings in Ireland, it’s important first to introduce yourself and offer your business card. This is a good way to establish trust and establish a friendly relationship with the other party.

It’s also crucial that you follow this rule when meeting with potential clients or customers in Ireland. Your potential client will expect you to offer your business card when making introductions – especially if the parties are being introduced by someone higher than them in the company or organization.

5. Gifting appropriately in Irish business setting

Always send a gift when you attend a meeting with a potential client. It shows that your company has taken an interest in the other company and is willing to do something special for them.

Make sure that the gift is relevant to the industry you are doing business with, otherwise it might offend the recipient. The gift should be wrapped tastefully as it will be kept on display after opening.

When offering a gift, make sure not to send anything inappropriate and ensure that the recipient will use and enjoy it. The recipient is likely to see this as an expression of how important they are in your business.

Always offer to bring another person with you if you are meeting a client or potential client. If you bring only yourself, it can come across as unprofessional. When inviting someone else, make sure that person can handle the conversation and take over if something embarrassing or awkward should arise.

door, house, family
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6. Business protocol when working with people in Ireland

When dealing with a company’s people, it is important to keep your business etiquette in line with the culture of the Irish.

The Irish culture is very family-oriented and welcoming. When meeting new people, it’s important to be polite and friendly. In Ireland, smiling is common for both men and women and everyone of all ages!

Always use small talk or social pleasantries as a means of opening the door for further conversation.

7. Shaking hands is a part of Business Ethics in Ireland

It is important to point out that not all business etiquette rules will be the same in Ireland as in your home country. While many of the rules are similar, there may be a few differences.

For instance, in Ireland business etiquette, how to greet and shake hands may differ from what you’re used to, although these are minor and easy to adjust to.

Always shake hands and make small talk when you first meet with a customer, potential client, or business partner. Always offer to take a drink or food with you as you meet new people.

In Ireland, on the other hand, it is acceptable to shake two hands instead of one. The Irish believe that shaking two hands indicates that both parties are equal in power and responsibility. This way, people are less likely to be seen as weak in comparison to others.

Be sure to shake the hands of everyone in a room when you are greeted with handshakes.

8. Always be on time for a meeting

It is important to always arrive on time when you are attending a business meeting. No matter what time of day or night your appointment is, make sure that everyone arrives at the proper time. Arriving late at a meeting could cause the loss of your client.

Being late might make your audience feel upset, and they might even lose interest in you and your business proposal. It may also cause unnecessary stress for the host and speaker, making them dislike you or your company.

In Ireland business etiquette, being late is considered rude and disrespectful. It shows that you have little regard for the time of others.

If you are running late, always call ahead to make sure that your meeting is still on. If it has been moved to another day, be sure to find out what the new time will be so that you can keep your client informed!

Be aware that someone might arrive late if they were stuck in traffic or if there was a major delay at the office.

family hand, outdoors, ireland
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9. Business Etiquette in Ireland is more formal than the U.S.

In the U.S., people tend to use casual language when they talk about personal issues or business matters amongst their close friends and family members. However, this would not be appropriate in the Irish business setting since business is seen as a way of making a living and making money.

When talking about work, it is important to use formal language and speak like you would be speaking to your boss or superior daily. When talking about personal things, it’s essential to adjust your tone of voice and vocabulary and act like you would in the United States. It is also common to be more formal with older people or those who are considered to be higher up in a company or organization.

In Ireland business, it is polite to greet clients with a handshake when you first meet them. A simple “how do you do” would be acceptable.

10. Stick to titles when referring to people in Ireland

Be sure always to address people by their professional titles. This will ensure that you show your respect towards them. The most common titles are Mr., Mrs., Ms., and Dr. When in doubt, it is okay to refer to someone as “Sir” or “Madam”.

It is common for people to refer to themselves as a nickname or the name of their business. If you do not know this information, it is appropriate to ask someone what they would like to be called instead of using an inappropriate term.

When in Ireland business, you must avoid calling someone by their first name unless given to you by them. If they permit you, calling them by their first name is fine. However, if not, always call them by their formal title or last name.

11. Small talk and social pleasantries are welcome

Irish business etiquette is very similar to that of the U.S., yet a few differences can be easily understood and used when dealing with professionals.

For example, in Ireland, you should always use small talk and social pleasantries to begin the conversation with new people and clients. They will most likely respond in kind, showing that they are interested in the conversation as well!

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When beginning a conversation, it is important to ask about others or discuss recent events. This will help you to avoid awkward silences and allow both parties to get comfortable!

In Ireland, businesspeople often use a small amount of humor in their conversations. This will help the conversation flow more smoothly and put others at ease around you. It would be best if you made sure that any jokes or humor is appropriate before sharing it with your business partners.

When talking with new people in Ireland, it is good to ask about their life outside of work.

12. Always remember that the Irish are very family-oriented

While the Irish are great at making business connections and networking, it is important to remember that they will always consider their families when making decisions. They will also not cut you off or take a business meeting as a personal affront if you plan to take your family along with you.

If this happens to you, do not let it get in the way of doing business. Always keep in mind that it is not personal and everything will be fine in the end. Those who consider family matters tend to be the most successful in Ireland business etiquette.

In Ireland, business associates are generally seen as future friends or family members. Since they are so close, it is important to get along with the people you meet. This way you can continue to build a network that can be beneficial for years to come!

Be sure that you have read through all of the business etiquette tips and rules before traveling to Ireland so that you can effectively use these tips when observing your Irish colleagues or other business partners.

north ireland, phone box, red cabin
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13. Avoid criticism and backtalk

When in Ireland business, you are expected to avoid criticizing or back talking to the company or person you are working with. In addition, it is important not to argue over every little detail since this can lead to further conflict and cause tension between the two parties.

The Irish like solutions that allow everyone involved to be happy. They do not like it when one party tries to get their way through criticizing whomever they are speaking with. They believe that meeting halfway on an issue is always the best option for everyone.

As mentioned previously, a typical Irish business etiquette rule is to avoid criticizing or openly disagreeing with the person you are speaking to. Instead, it is a good idea to be tactful and diplomatic when speaking about your thoughts or opinions. The main goal here is not to cause any hard feelings, leading to further tension between yourself and whomever you are talking with.

It is important to remember that the Irish in business often take disagreements personally. When this happens, it is best to distance yourself from the person and go along with whatever decision they decide.

The Irish are known for being very polite and friendly. When conversing with business partners or colleagues, it is essential to remember this when speaking to them.

For example, if you want to propose an idea of a possible solution, try as much as possible to provide a reason why you think it can be successful first before presenting your idea in full detail.

14. Use a soft tone of voice

The Irish use many hand gestures and are known to use a loud tone of voice when in conversation. When speaking with them, you must avoid doing the same.

Make sure that you do not raise your voice and instead, use a soft tone to speak with your colleagues or clients. This will show respect for the person you are speaking with and help to get your point across without causing any tension.

Never be afraid to ask others to repeat themselves if they speak too quickly or use the wrong words. By doing this, you will understand the topic matter better and know how you can help them with their issue.

When speaking with others, you must avoid slang words and phrases that may not be easily understood in Ireland. Instead, use standard English vocabulary that everyone will understand.

ireland, kilkenny, auto
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15. Eat slowly and order small portions

As part of business etiquette in Ireland, if you get an invite to share a meal, follow the proper meal etiquette.

The Irish take their time in meals and are never in a rush to finish them. This makes it essential that you try to enjoy the company of your colleagues or clients while still appearing efficient during your meetings.

Ensure that you avoid eating very fast or ordering a huge meal since this can make you look unprofessional and rude. Eating slowly and in small portions is one of the most important business etiquette rules to follow in Ireland

When speaking with your business colleagues or clients, it is important that you do not speak with food in your mouth. It is also considered bad manners when you try to talk while eating. If you have a big mouthful, swallow it down before continuing to speak.

16. Drinks are welcome, but with lots of care

When you are conducting business in Ireland, it will be tempting to drink alcohol since this seems to be more common among the Irish. While alcohol is essential on many business occasions, you need to know about some things.

In Ireland, a certain amount of alcohol is expected during any evening or dinner meeting and is even required at parties and social events.

One thing that is important to remember while having drinks is never to get drunk. Drinking heavily and above the recommended amount can upset people and ruin the entire business engagement.

If you are going out for a night with colleagues or clients, make sure that no one gets too drunk or overindulges in alcohol during the night. It is important to avoid drinking at all times during a business trip to Ireland. If you ignore these rules, you could be seen as rude or disrespectful towards your host.

dublin, bridge, ireland
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17. Don’t be over-generous

As part of business etiquette in Ireland, you should try your best not to be too generous during your meetings. This is especially important when you are conducting business with clients.

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Selling or offering gifts to people can be seen by some as bribery and not upholding the values you claim to hold. Therefore, you mustn’t get carried away when celebrating a special occasion or doing business with a client and instead, stick to the right amount of generosity that each situation requires.

Just as with money, it is also crucial that you do not give excessive amounts of gifts to people. The Irish may seem to be generous and welcoming but think twice before deciding whether to give a gift or not.

It is a good idea to avoid giving out business gifts or company-branded items unless they are requested by the person you are dealing with. In addition, try not to present the item publicly since it can come across as awkward and make it look like you are trying too hard for sympathy.

18. It is all about the right timing

In Ireland, business etiquette rules are important to follow but so is being timely. It is essential to realize that everyone in business operates on a time budget. Therefore, you need to be aware of how much time they have available and when they can meet with you.

Also, the Irish like to meet with clients in person rather than on the phone or over email. When meeting with a client or colleague, try your best to arrange a meeting as soon as possible. Make sure that your proposed meeting is convenient for them and that it does not interfere with their schedule too much in any way.

When choosing the location of the meeting, make sure to choose one that is convenient for everyone. Try to avoid meetings being held close to transport hubs or areas with lots of noise or public crowds. It is also essential that you do not choose a meeting place far from the main road.

Also, make sure that you choose a appropriate location for the meeting you will be having. For example, if you are going out to a restaurant for lunch with colleagues and clients, it would not be appropriate to meet in a small pub where many people are drinking and shouting at each other.

irish, st patrick's day, ireland
Photo by Alexas_Fotos on Pixabay

19. Be very clear about your job description

When conducting business in Ireland, it is important that you clearly state the exact job title of the person you are meeting. This will let them know what they can expect from you during the meeting and will help to avoid any confusion or misunderstanding.

It is also very important that you state what projects or events your company has in mind for the future. This will also give customers a better idea of what to expect from your firm and make them more likely to place their orders with you.

The Irish are very sensitive about their job titles or niches in business. Therefore, it is important to mention this as soon as possible and talk to a potential client for too long before you have been talking to a potential client.

It is also essential that you mention your job title early on in the conversation so that the person you are talking to understands that they will be working with you. It is best to ask them what they do at work and then state what your company does or see themselves in future projects.

20. Be polite

A critical aspect of business etiquette in Ireland is politeness. Being polite and showing a genuine interest in the person you are dealing with can go a long way to make or break your business relationship.

There is no such thing as being rude or rudely abrupt with your clients or colleagues in Ireland. You are expected to treat everyone with respect and courtesy no matter how much they may annoy you at the office.

Just because they work for a different company, you must still be respectful to them and show your interest in what they are saying. The Irish are known to be very humorous, but you should always tell when they are joking and when they are serious.

You mustn’t discriminate when conducting business in Ireland. You will be expected to treat everyone with respect and kindness regardless of their gender, class, age or religion.

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Final thoughts regarding business etiquette in Ireland

It can be challenging to understand cultural differences when traveling to different countries. However, if you keep your eyes and ears open, you will most likely pick up on the differences much quicker.

If you have gone through all these 19+ rules for business etiquette in Ireland, then you are well on your way to conducting business with the Irish in a professional manner.

It is essential that you set clear goals and have a strict schedule when conducting business in Ireland. This will help you to avoid any delays or frustration on your part. Remember, it is not rude to be punctual.

These rules for business etiquette in Ireland were put together from real-life experiences. The best way to understand business etiquette in Ireland is to take an actual trip yourself and observe people behaving.

Eventually, you will begin to pick up on the subtle differences when conducting business with the Irish.


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