So, London business travel is on the horizon. Great, that’s awesome but business in London is slightly different than business in the U.S. Especially, in cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco and even New York where casual is king these days. In America, billionaires can look like college students and conduct meetings in flip-flops. In the UK, it’s a little different. It’s a lot more old school and certain formalities, and certainly fashion, are still important. Here are some tips on doing business in London.
The British love their fashion. Most Europeans love their fashion, but in London the men tend to dress up even more than women. So as a man, especially a casual man like myself, I always bring my A-game when it comes to clothes. There’s a slight chance that whomever you’re meeting will be in a suit as nice as your best suit because it’s Tuesday so be prepared and gear up.
Be Prepared to Drink
The British love drinking and it’s engrained in their culture even more so than here in the U.S. Pubs, bars, clubs and beyond are all a part of the business and social protocol in London and you’ll be expected to carry your weight. So, go on a cleanse or drink plenty of water, but whatever you do be prepared to drink. It’s as quintessential British as the rain.
Learn a Little British Humor
The Brits have a weird, dry sense of humor and they use a lot of words that Americans aren’t familiar with. If you’re like me and you like “taking the piss” aka giving other a hard time then you need to load up on some British lingo so you can make an impact with your jokes. Seriously, just Google some British slang and it’ll go far with the lads.
Learn the Basics of Soccer and Rugby
There’s a 95% chance that whomever you’re meeting with will either be a massive fan of soccer (aka football) or Rugby or both. English men love talking about that. So even if you know nothing about either sport, do a little research; especially, if there’s a big event or match coming up. They’ll be surprised that an American knows anything about either sport and it will endear you to them. Trust me on that.
Don’t be Blinded by the Accent
I say this from personal experience and from talking to many American expats living in or who have lived in London. Sometimes, Americans get blinded by the posh British accent when, in fact, they can be lying directly to your face. Not to say all obviously, 99% are great people. Just keep you eyes open and don’t be suaded by the accent!