Is your company looking to set up a new business in Qatar? Here are some useful business etiquette insights to help guide you in the right direction:
- Always shake hands with the most senior person present first and be sure to dress conservatively and modestly. Meetings can be very lengthy as Qataris are great conversationalists and business discussions are interspersed with small talk, in addition to frequent interruptions by personal visitors or colleagues. Remain patient and courteous at all times in order to gain respect.
- Qataris prefer to do business with people they know so a great deal of time is spent on building up trust and reciprocity. As Qatar is a Muslim country, you should always remain sensitive to Islamic beliefs and customs in your business dealings. Unless you have an office in Qatar, you will be required to use a local agent who will help you establish good contacts. Networking is very important.
- Make appointments shortly before your visit as business schedules are often changed at short notice. Normal business hours are 8.00am to 12 noon and 4.00pm to 7.00pm with many offices closed on Fridays. You should arrive punctually although your Qatari colleagues may be a bit late!
- Make sure you can deliver on anything you promise to your Qatari colleagues as they consider your verbal commitments to be even more important than a written contract.