Know your British visitor

English is the official language. Regional languages include Cornish, Irish, Scots, Scottish Gaelic and Welsh.

Informal: 'Hello.'

Formal: 'How do you do?'

Impolite behaviour.


When you greet a British guest, make sure your handshake is firm.

UK citizens are referred to as British. Terms such as 'English', 'Scot/Scots/Scottish', 'Welsh' and 'Irish' may only be used when heritage is certain.

Qualities such as politeness, reserve and restraint are usually admired among the British.

Although appearing cool and aloof, Scots are passionate and sentimental about their country.

The Welsh love their country and its heritage; singing, talking and family unity are valued.

Two-thirds of Northern Ireland has Scottish and English roots; the remaining third are Irish. The Irish value friendliness, sincerity and nature. Family is very important.

The British are reserved, which makes them appear rather aloof, but they are generally friendly and helpful once introductions are made.

A Briton will raise his or her hand to summon a waiter – they won't shout.

Business entertaining takes place over lunch, with the person who extended the invitation expected to pay the bill.

Punctuality is important – be on time.

Brits tend to get down to business at hand after a few moments of polite introduction.

Business protocol is observed in business interactions. Meetings are usually scheduled well in advance. Presentations should be formal and detailed.

Business dealings may be better facilitated by using a well-connected third party as initiator.