Networking Etiquette in the UAE: Surprising Insights

11:23 pm  |  29.11.2023

While the UAE and Dubai are renowned for their cultural diversity, creating enduring business relationships in this region demands a profound understanding of local cultural norms and traditions.

1. Initiate Networking Early: Embrace the Significance of Informal Connections

Upon entering the UAE market, it is vital to initiate the establishment of business connections promptly. In the Arab world, informal relationships hold immense importance, emphasizing the necessity of understanding interaction rules and societal behavior.

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2. Extreme Precision: Tactful Communication

When dealing with Arab clients, being tactful and diplomatic is paramount. Attention to detail and courtesy in communication, whether in person or in writing, are considered crucial. Respecting Muslim holidays becomes an integral part of cultural understanding.

3. Speak Well of Those Absent: Embrace Openness and Diplomacy

Extreme caution is essential when discussing other individuals. Eastern cultures highly value mutual respect and business ethics, and any negative feedback can impact business relationships.

4. Avoid Politics: Steer Clear of Sensitive Topics

Political discussions with Arabs are best avoided. Historical nuances and controversial issues can become sensitive topics. Business communication in the UAE relies on mutual respect, and abstaining from political debates is considered good manners.

5. Avoid Criticizing Your Homeland: Patriotism and Respect

Patriotism is a significant feature of Arab culture. Speaking negatively about your country can lead to resentment. It is crucial to highlight the positives and approach discussions about your country with respect.

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6. Don’t Complain: Embrace Optimism in Relationships

In the Emirates, it is difficult to check contractors, but nothing prevents you from investigating the social networks of a potential partner, and also asking him to talk about completed projects or hold several meetings for you.

In Eastern culture, airing your problems in public is not customary. In business relationships, it is advisable to focus on the positive aspects, share good news, and avoid conveying negative information.

7. Don’t Trust All Promises: Exercise Caution in Networking

In an environment filled with newcomers and foreigners unfamiliar with local realities, there’s a possibility of encountering exaggerated promises and importance. The approach offers help and discussions about influential connections with a degree of skepticism.

Networking Challenges in the UAE:

  • Reality Check: Recognize the challenge of identifying genuinely useful contacts among acquaintances.
  • Learn from Experience: Genuine connections tend to be revealed gradually as relationships develop.
  • Business Interest: Those genuinely interested in your business will seek to understand your offering before offering help.
  • Choose Consultants Wisely: Reliable consultants analyze your project before making promises, avoiding hasty commitments.
  • Conduct Own Checks: Due to difficulties in verifying counterparts, utilize social media to study potential partners and request information about completed projects.

8. Being Respectful: Avoid Offensive Language in the UAE

The use of obscene language (both oral and written) is subject to severe penalties, ranging from a fine of 5,000 dirhams ($1,361) to one year in prison.

In the UAE, obscene language, especially when uttered by foreigners, is treated with special attention. Strict penalties, including fines and imprisonment, apply for the use of offensive language verbally or in writing.

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A cautious approach to networking in the UAE is essential to prevent misunderstandings and navigate around false promises. Genuine connections and business partnerships thrive on trust and mutual respect, acknowledging that building relationships takes time and effort.

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