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How to Follow Proper Business Etiquette in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates

Dubai and the rest of the United Arab Emirates are among the most beautiful places in the world, but don't lose yourself in the scenery -- remember your manners and adhere to proper business etiquette.


  • Step 1: Do not drink alcohol if the meeting is over a meal.
  • Step 2: Print your business cards in 2 languages, Arabic and English. This goes for any other literature as well, like brochures.
  • Step 3: Don't forget the small talk. It's polite to inquire about family and mutual acquaintances before jumping into business negotiations.
  • FACT: The United Arab Emirates is made up of seven different states. Dubai is the largest city.
  • Step 4: Expect another meeting after the initial meeting. The first meeting is usually just to get to know each other, and business is saved for the second meeting.
  • TIP: Only use your right hand when shaking hands, offering something, or eating. The left hand is considered unclean.
  • TIP: During Ramadan, which changes dates every year, the workday is 2 hours shorter.
  • Step 5: Dress conservatively, even in Dubai, which is more liberal than other areas of the UAE. Women should have their arms and legs covered. Short skirts and low-cut tops should not be worn.
  • Step 6: Shake hands, but don't grasp too firmly. Men should not shake hands with women unless the woman offers her hand first.
  • Step 7: Study business hours in the United Arab Emirates. Because the UAE suffers extremely harsh summers, they take breaks during the business day. The business week runs from Saturday to Wednesday, and hours are from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and then from 4 or 5 p.m. until 7 p.m.

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