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Stiff upper lip required

Good timekeeping is imperative when doing business in the UK.

(TIME) -- In the UK, if in doubt of the correct protocol, err on the side of formality.

Business dealings tend to be quite formal in the UK. Do not attempt to become too familiar with your associates and respect their privacy.

Although business culture is traditionally very hierarchical, team-work is important and team spirit is encouraged.

In some areas, the class system is still evident with 'old boy's networks' continuing to operate in long-established finance houses or companies, although this old-fashioned elitist system is fast dying out.

Ensure you are punctual -- it is considered rude to keep people waiting.

Men and women tend to dress conservatively in business suits. A firm handshake on meeting is customary and business cards are usually exchanged at the beginning or end of a meeting.

The British will not hesitate to speak their minds so be prepared for some straight talking.

Avoid the hard sell in negotiations and do not flatter your counterparts, as it will make them uncomfortable.

The British sense of humor can be quite sarcastic, though no offence will be meant and none should be taken. Subjective feelings are unlikely to be involved in the decision-making process.

The British are not given to outbursts of emotion and may be disconcerted by business associates arguing aggressively.

Do not misinterpret a detached manner as disinterest-- the British are well known for being aloof.

Business lunches are popular and socializing with colleagues in a local pub after work is commonplace.

You may be invited to a dinner party at an associate's home --take a bottle of wine and follow up the evening with a thank you note.

As in all things in the UK, good manners will always be appreciated.

Copyright © 2005 Time Inc.

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