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Old 12.09.2011, 20:04
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Best tip you ever received about social etiquette with the Swiss?

May have been covered before but I couldn't find it.

Mine was 'always look a Swiss person in the eyes when you make cheers'.

Come to think of it, it's perfectly logical - you're either drinking to their health or wishing them 'Happy Birthday' or congratulating them maybe for some other milestone or happy event.

i.e. 'Don't look at the glass'.
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Old 12.09.2011, 20:07
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Re: Best tip you ever received about social etiquette with the Swiss?

Learn their names upon first introduction, and be sure to use them when you say goodbye.

The best way to handle that, of course, is to let someone else do the round of handshaking just before you and keep an ear cocked for the names they use.
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Old 12.09.2011, 20:50
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Re: Best tip you ever received about social etiquette with the Swiss?

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Learn their names upon first introduction, and be sure to use them when you say goodbye.
Sorry to butt in again - massive props to Dougal's Breakfast,

The Swiss love it at the end of a telephone call - especially if you've never ever met the person before (keep a writing pad handy).
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Old 12.09.2011, 20:58
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Re: Best tip you ever received about social etiquette with the Swiss?

1. Show up on time, neither before nor after but ON TIME, especially in the Swiss German part. In the Suisse Romandie its ok to be fashionably late by about 15 mins.
2. If you are invited to someone's you only know formally, don't stay beyond three hours.
3. Dont call anyone after 2100hrs. If its your friend this can be extended to 2200hrs.
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Old 12.09.2011, 21:04
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Re: Best tip you ever received about social etiquette with the Swiss?

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1. Show up on time, neither before nor after but ON TIME, especially in the Swiss German part. In the Suisse Romandie its ok to be fashionably late by about 15 mins.
2. If you are invited to someone's you only know formally, don't stay beyond three hours.
3. Dont call anyone after 2100hrs. If its your friend this can be extended to 2200hrs.
I've also been advised don't call before 9am (especially on weekends)
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Old 12.09.2011, 21:08
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Re: Best tip you ever received about social etiquette with the Swiss?

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I've also been advised don't call before 9am (especially on weekends)
Yes, in the light how things work here, that's quite true too.
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Old 12.09.2011, 21:09
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Re: Best tip you ever received about social etiquette with the Swiss?

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I've also been advised don't call before 9am (especially on weekends)
Oh yes .... and never telephone between the lunch time of 12noon and 12.45 (the last 15 mins is okay because they have finished eating - usually)
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Old 12.09.2011, 21:08
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Re: Best tip you ever received about social etiquette with the Swiss?

Offer your hand when greeting or saying goodbye (not shaking hands, just clasping hands - NEVER try the "Heavy sincere handgrip as this classes you as a Bully).

Take a packet of SWISS biscuits if invited for daytime coffee at their home.

REMEMBER their names (as stated above).... this is VERY important!
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Old 12.09.2011, 23:28
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Re: Best tip you ever received about social etiquette with the Swiss?

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1. Show up on time, neither before nor after but ON TIME, especially in the Swiss German part. In the Suisse Romandie its ok to be fashionably late by about 15 mins.
In Bern you should be 5 to 10 minutes early for a meeting or an interview at a business or company, giving the impression you are keen to meet them.

Privately you should be 5 minutes late so as not to imply stress on the hostess.

Privately always take a small bunch of flowers and chocolates or biscuits for any children. Taking wine is not really a good idea, the host chooses the wine for the meal, not you. Perfect would be something from your own country, that would be appreciated, American brownies, Scottish shortbread, Australian brown sugar etc.

Use the Sie / Vous form of address until invited by the older person to use the Du / Tu form.
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Old 13.09.2011, 14:25
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Re: Best tip you ever received about social etiquette with the Swiss?

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In Bern you should be 5 to 10 minutes early for a meeting or an interview at a business or company, giving the impression you are keen to meet them.

Privately you should be 5 minutes late so as not to imply stress on the hostess.

Privately always take a small bunch of flowers and chocolates or biscuits for any children. Taking wine is not really a good idea, the host chooses the wine for the meal, not you. Perfect would be something from your own country, that would be appreciated, American brownies, Scottish shortbread, Australian brown sugar etc.

Use the Sie / Vous form of address until invited by the older person to use the Du / Tu form.
This is not true, especially in the wine growing regions; you never open wine somebody brings you unless they insist, it's shows that you don't have enough and were relying on them, good wine needs to rest before being opened anyway.
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Old 13.09.2011, 16:21
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Re: Best tip you ever received about social etiquette with the Swiss?

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Privately always take a small bunch of flowers and chocolates or biscuits for any children. Taking wine is not really a good idea, the host chooses the wine for the meal, not you. Perfect would be something from your own country, that would be appreciated, American brownies, Scottish shortbread, Australian brown sugar etc.

Use the Sie / Vous form of address until invited by the older person to use the Du / Tu form.
Taking wine for the host and flowers for the hostess is pretty much de rigueur. It is not expected that the host would open the bottle you had taken with you, with the meal, although once in a while we have had friends who did that. But that was their choice.
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Old 12.09.2011, 21:23
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Re: Best tip you ever received about social etiquette with the Swiss?

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The Swiss love it at the end of a telephone call - especially if you've never ever met the person before (keep a writing pad handy).
And never forget to respectfully address them with a "Gruezi Frau und Herr Sternimann" (replace name as appropriate ) while passing by with a nod of the head on every long walk or hike you'll ever take, ad vitae eternum... and then some
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Old 12.09.2011, 21:54
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Re: Best tip you ever received about social etiquette with the Swiss?

I enjoy the company of a realy realy old lady here in my village ... a "living legend" type ... one of the "Stam" of the community.

She amuses me no end...!

Sometimes I encounter her on my walks. And she greets every person, no matter how young, how strange, how "Auslanderisch" with a "Grüetzi".

I commented to her how the young no longer seem to automatically greet one these days.

She said "It is VERY important to keep up the tradition! They must learn that it is the correct thing to do!"

She also stops to inspect all the roadworks going on - enquiring of the workmen what they are doing, how long they will be taking, and reminding them to clean up after they are finished.....

Oh ...she also stops to inspect the water brunners - and if there is something in there, she grabs the nearest passing teenager and tells them to take it out .. and tell their friends to NOT drop their rubbish in the water!

I love the old girl - she is an absolute classic!
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Old 13.09.2011, 08:59
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Re: Best tip you ever received about social etiquette with the Swiss?

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Learn their names upon first introduction, and be sure to use them when you say goodbye.

The best way to handle that, of course, is to let someone else do the round of handshaking just before you and keep an ear cocked for the names they use.
I find it really difficult to pronounce German names at present (currently in UK). Is it better to just have a go and potentially pronounce it slightly wrong or should I wait until I've got better at this?
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Old 13.09.2011, 10:21
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Re: Best tip you ever received about social etiquette with the Swiss?

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I find it really difficult to pronounce German names at present (currently in UK). Is it better to just have a go and potentially pronounce it slightly wrong or should I wait until I've got better at this?
If we're talking about an actual face-to-face meeting, I would say definitely have a go first, then sit back and listen to a 'profi' - they'll be in their element. At sometime during the conversation they may (covertly) test you to see if you can finally say it. At the very latest when you say goodbye you should be able to pronounce some recognisable rendition of their name. Of course if you get it spot on the first time - respect.

All in complete fun (of course).
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Old 13.09.2011, 10:52
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Re: Best tip you ever received about social etiquette with the Swiss?

In my time living in Holland, nearly all dutch names were new to me. So when I met someone with a name I'd never heard of, I'd ask how do you spell it, then repeat the spelling out loud to the person, then the name. It helps to remember that name better, makes sure you understood it correctly the first time, and makes it less dramatic to re-check later that you remember the spelling/pronunciation correctly. It's ok to try hard to pronounce a name right, even if it doesn't come out perfect!

Examples: Sjoerd, Ruud, Marinus, Joost

I now do the same with all new names I've never heard before (Huyn Jin Lee, Reinhart, Silli,...)
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Old 13.09.2011, 11:19
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Re: Best tip you ever received about social etiquette with the Swiss?

Don't smile too much when meeting someone for the first time.
They will invariably think you are the village idiot.
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Old 13.09.2011, 22:04
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Re: Best tip you ever received about social etiquette with the Swiss?

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I find it really difficult to pronounce German names at present (currently in UK). Is it better to just have a go and potentially pronounce it slightly wrong or should I wait until I've got better at this?
Relax, as it is just as in English. You should not tackle names with "rules" but try to listen how they are pronounced locally. A majority of names however are quite easy to pronounce as soon as you got some basics. And do not hesitate to ask. I for example when making a phone-call to Yeovilton asked the lady on the phone how the name of their place is pronounced.
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Old 13.09.2011, 22:51
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Re: Best tip you ever received about social etiquette with the Swiss?

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Relax, as it is just as in English. You should not tackle names with "rules" but try to listen how they are pronounced locally. A majority of names however are quite easy to pronounce as soon as you got some basics. And do not hesitate to ask. I for example when making a phone-call to Yeovilton asked the lady on the phone how the name of their place is pronounced.
Ok thanks I don't really tackle things by rules anyway (this may be part of my problem) - I find it difficult to convert new English words and names from text into speech without hearing them. Sometimes I have to hear unusual words several times and German words are even more difficult I think learning another language will help with this anyway.
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Old 12.09.2011, 20:27
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Re: Best tip you ever received about social etiquette with the Swiss?

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May have been covered before but I couldn't find it.

Mine was 'always look a Swiss person in the eyes when you make cheers'.

Come to think of it, it's perfectly logical - you're either drinking to their health or wishing them 'Happy Birthday' or congratulating them maybe for some other milestone or happy event.

i.e. 'Don't look at the glass'.
And if you don't look in their eyes you'll have bad sex for the next 7 years, that's what I was told.
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