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Old 08.03.2007, 21:39
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Swiss business meetings

Any customs to be aware of in Swiss business meetings?
Also what is the accepted level of dress when visiting a manufacturer? We already do business with them, so no need to put on a show.
Jean and a casual shirt?
Dress pants and a casual shirt?
Sport coat?
Suit, tie, polished dress shoes?
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Old 09.03.2007, 10:10
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Re: Swiss business meetings

What sort of manufacturer meeting - is it with their board, or a tour of the factory?
a) With the board = normal business attire
b) Factory tour = you're gonna get dirty - smart casual and expect to get issued overalls/smock and/or hairnet/mask
c) Factory tour + meet their accounts department = tie.
d) You're their biggest/only customer = do whatever you want.
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Old 09.03.2007, 10:21
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Re: Swiss business meetings

I would not visit a client or even supplier for the first time without wearing a suit. Better to overdress and present a good image in my opinion. If you have a suit of less formal cut or style then wear that. If you tour the facility then you may be given nice white coats to show that you are an outsider, and to give a clear signal to the workers than you are "important"

dave

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What sort of manufacturer meeting - is it with their board, or a tour of the factory?
a) With the board = normal business attire
b) Factory tour = you're gonna get dirty - smart casual and expect to get issued overalls/smock and/or hairnet/mask
c) Factory tour + meet their accounts department = tie.
d) You're their biggest/only customer = do whatever you want.
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Old 09.03.2007, 10:25
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Re: Swiss business meetings

I'd say the cultural differences won't be massive for this kind of activity. The Swiss are perhaps less into suits than in the US, but it depends on the industry (for example front-office banking is always suits, but rarely seen in the back office). They certainly wouldn't mind if you wore a suit.

I'd say don't sweat about it, the two main things to watch out for would be perhaps to be a little less direct than normal and lower the volume of your voice by a couple of decibels - that will probably do the trick

Oh, and of course all the usual things - tell them how much you love their chocolate, how impressed you are that they speak so many languages (even if it's not true) and don't mention your president.
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Old 09.03.2007, 17:00
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Re: Swiss business meetings

Thnks for the tips. When they visit us, their range of dress is from suit and tie to business casual. I guess we'll come prepared. This is electronics manufacturing, so it should be less formal than banking and finance.

Agree about talking softly and avoid discussing politics. I've seen former co-workers talk louder and louder at Europeans who have limited knowledge of English as if it will help them magically understand better. Quite embarrassing.
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Old 08.05.2007, 15:33
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Re: Swiss business meetings

Interesting. I'm looking for a company to put 18 small. low value components (standard discrete stuff, not even SMD) on a small PCB for a small run (say 500 units). It's a mad idea I have, and if sales explodes (one hopes - I said it was a mad idea) I could need a lot more made..

Any idea where to go with this? China? Local?
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