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Business Etiquettes in Iran


Iranians prefer to do business with those they know and respect, therefore they expect to spend time cultivating a personal relationship before business is conducted. Who you know is often more important than what you know, so it is important to network and cultivate a number of contacts. Expect to be offered tea whenever you meet someone, as this demonstrates hospitality. Since Iranians judge people on appearances, dress appropriately and stay in a high standard hotel.

Greeting Etiquette

• Address your Iranian business associates by their title and their surname.

• The title doktor is used for both M.D.s and Ph.D.s. Engineers are called mohandis. These titles are are preceded by the formal titles listed below and are used with the surname.

• The title agha (sir) is used when addressing men. It may be used before or after the first name. The phrase agha-yeh is put before a surname.

• The title khanoom (madam) is used when addressing women. It may be used before or after the first name. The phrase khanom-eh is used before the surname.

• Wait to be invited before moving to first names. Only close friends and family use this informal form of address.

Business Meeting Etiquette

• Appointments are necessary and should be made 4-6 weeks in advance.

• Confirm the meeting one week in advance and when you arrive in the country.

• It is a good idea to avoid scheduling meetings during Ramadan as the need to fast would preclude your business colleagues from offering you hospitality.

• Arrive at meetings on time, since punctuality is seen as a virtue.

• The first meeting with an Iranian company is generally not business-focused. Expect your colleagues to spend time getting to know you as a person over tea and snacks.

• Be patient – meetings are frequently interrupted.

• Written materials should be available in both Farsi and English.

• Do not remove your suit jacket without permission.

• Do not look at your watch or try to rush the meeting. If you appear fixated on the amount of time the meeting is taking, you will not be trusted.

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