There are many successful entrepreneurs who know how to build trustful relationships with Egyptians. This quality requires for a person to have knowledge of the target culture and to be able to put this knowledge to good use in order to succeed when establishing strong personal or business relationships with Egyptians.
There are so many diverse cultures, style of communication and traditions that the way you should behave or communicate in one country is most probably not the same in another, Egypt included. Sometimes this can be also frustrating, especially when you have no awareness about the target culture where you wish to build new relationships and achieve success.
Egyptians are really sociable people, who take business personally and are interested in building relationships with foreigners. Accordingly, as you might have guessed, Egyptians are relationship-oriented, and therefore it is absolutely fundamental to take the time to build a relationship with your Egyptian counterpart before trying to start negotiations. And only then, once you have started working together, will an Egyptian see themselves as your friend.
When building relationships take these instructions into account:
- Important values for Egyptians are family and kinship. Nepotism is considered a positive in Egypt and you’ll often find several members of the same family at high levels within the same company.
- Egyptians are great communicators, and their speech is usually indirect. Therefore, you should learn to read between the lines and study body language in order to be able to understand what Egyptians really mean
- Don’t show any frustration if you don’t meet deadlines with Egyptians, as it leads nowhere.
- They value trust and friendship, and will only make business with someone whom they can rely on.
- Egyptians have a strong sense of humor, sharing a joke is a good way to forge friendship.
- Egyptians are very hospitable; never decline their invitation to a dinner. And the invitation should always be reciprocated.
- Do not ask Egyptians personal questions about their wife or children, especially to women. Instead make a general enquiry about the welfare of the family
It is also vital to understand the Egyptian communication style. People may not always mean what they say and may not say what they mean. As I said before, Egypt is a high context culture, and communication is transferred implicitly with body language, eye contact, silences, and oblique words or phrases. Egyptians have a strong sense of face, be sure not to lose your face nor make them lose theirs.
Overall, be polite, patient, and sociable and don’t forget to praise their country, Egyptians love when someone talks about beauty of their country. When starting a conversation with someone for the first time, say something about the things that impressed you about the country. Pick an example you feel comfortable with like (the museum, the pyramids, etc.) and compliment it while showing how much knowledge you have about the topic.
If you want to find out more about building relationship across cultures read this article: