18 Dec London Internship Business Etiquette
Internship: Check. International Experience: Check. Knowing how to conduct yourself in this foreign environment at your internship in London…
While in London, there are a few things to get straight before you go off to become successful in your area of work. First and foremost, the UK is made up of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. And each of these countries has a strong sense of nationalism and identity. That being said, know that “English” and “British” are NOT interchangeable. To call someone British is to say that someone is from England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. Calling someone English, obviously, means that someone is from England.
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get down to the business aspect:
Because England is culturally diverse, they accept the cultures and customs of others. This also means that while you’re in London, you don’t need to expect too many differences in business practices from the norm.
The British are rather formal in that they’re almost always polite, direct, and professional. They also like working with people they know, which means it would be to your benefit to network and build relationships as much as possible while you’re there. Networking is the key to long-term success.
When you first meet someone in the business world, a simple handshake and eye contact will do you good for making first impressions. And when you address others, you just need to use their title and their surname (ex: Ms. Doe). And remember, you’re in London so it is very possible that someone could have been knighted, so you can refer to him as Sir (insert surname).
A distinctly British trait is punctuality; so if you have a meeting or a deadline to make, then make sure you do your work by the agreed time. If for some reason you find yourself running late or unable to get all the work done then definitely make a call or send an email to your boss – it’ll go a long way to effectively keep in touch.
When it comes to meetings, the British always start with some small talk before getting down to business. And when that time comes, it’s best not to exaggerate your ideas. You should always think through what you’re going to say and have the facts and figures to back your statements. Doing business in London, you need to understand, involves making decisions based on facts, not emotions. Having these components will make you much more professional and will help you to stand out in the eyes of your employer.
And in terms of deciding what to wear, Londoners are very basic and conservative. Simple dark business suits will do the trick and make you look like an executive in no time.
After your few months are over at your internship in London, you may feel like you’d like to give a gift to those who have helped you in your internship in London. If you want to, make sure the gifts are small and tasteful such as a desk accessory or a paperweight. You don’t want to give off the impression that you want something in return by giving them something a little too nice, so small and simple will suffice.