Living in the East is much more about how you do things than anything else
Living in the East is much more about how you do things than anything else. And this is particularly true when it comes to business. There are so many rules and traditions involved in doing business in the Middle East; it is almost impossible to understand them all. Thankfully, you don’t have to understand them all. But you have to observe a few traditions if you are to achieve true integration into the world of business in the Middle East. In this article we will look at the always-sensitive issue of dress codes in business meetings. So many people have fallen foul of the meeting environment because they have not dressed accordingly. Hopefully, this article will help.
The good news is that many people from the West should be able to fit right into the whole grand scheme of things as regards dress code in the Middle East. This is because the main aim of corporate dress is to come across on a respectful, reserved manner. If you are able to do this in the way you dress, the entire better. As most businesspeople in the west dress in a reserved way, this shouldn’t be a problem. If you are ever in doubt as regards the dress code you should be looking at, just dress smart.
The main issue on Arab countries is skin. If you show too much skin (and this applies to both men and women) it is seen as being an issue. Obviously, this is more of an issue for women than it is for men, but it is worth bearing in mind for both sexes. For example, men are not expected to ever wear shorts to a business meeting, and it is generally seen as being proper that a man does not expose his arms above the elbows. This is a pretty hard and fast rule across the Arab world, and needs observing by every businessman who hopes to do business there.
Women face a different set of issues. A woman has to dress very conservatively if she wishes to do business in the Arab world. This means no short skirts, for example, and arms need to be covered up. In some Arab countries it is customary for a woman to hide her face, but this may not be enforced in a business environment. The main issue is the exposure of skin. If you can avoid this, you should be fine.
Take care to ask for help and guidance as regards clothing in the Arab business word if you are unsure. It is always important to ask for help in this regard. Just remember to dress conservatively and you should be fine.