Business Etiquette in Scotland

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By Dzhingarov

As part of any business trip to Scotland, it’s essential that travelers understand its cultural norms and differences. Being aware of this will allow for better working relations with your counterparts in Scotland.

Scots tend to be low-contact people who do not like physical contact between themselves and those they speak with; nor do they use hand gestures as part of a conversation.

Dress Code

Dressing appropriately is an integral component of business etiquette. Not only can it help boost your confidence and allow for maximum productivity at work, it can also improve comfort levels and facilitate productivity increases in specialized industries like retail or hospitality.

Men should wear dark-coloured suits and ties while women typically don skirts or dresses with blouses and accessories such as scarves and scarves. In certain sectors such as IT or creative industries, however, more casual attire may be acceptable depending on what your employer requires for conducting business.

Dress codes vary from company to company, but it’s always wise to look presentable and professional. Additionally, it would be prudent to consult your employer regarding their specific dress code rules, as this could potentially include stringent regulations you must abide by when coming to work.

Scottish people tend to be relaxed and friendly, so when conducting business with them it is essential to remain polite and courteous. Punctuality is considered essential within their culture, so be on time for all meetings or social events.

When conducting meetings in public places, it is crucial that participants speak in an even and low tone in order to avoid offending other attendees and making them feel awkward or humiliated.

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Be sure to maintain eye contact when speaking to another, as this shows that you are attentive and interested in their thoughts and feelings. Don’t allow your gaze to wander when discussing business matters as this can make them feel both anxious and uncomfortable.

As part of establishing trust and showing your interest in supporting them with business matters, when greeting Scottish people it is always advisable to extend a handshake greeting. Doing this shows them you are willing and available to provide help when needed.

As soon as working with Scots, remember to show respect for their culture and heritage by being courteous and refraining from making comments that put Scots alongside English; don’t refer to them with terms like “Scotch” and “Scotsman” during business interactions; these could potentially offend their sensibilities and compromise business relations with them.


Punctuality is an integral component of business etiquette in Scotland, helping ensure meetings and conferences run smoothly, and giving your attendees a good first impression.

Punctuality is key in any work environment, as it demonstrates care for both colleagues and their time. Arriving late to meetings can have devastating repercussions for other team members; latecomers might miss key information that is vital to discussion or push meetings back too far affecting everyone’s schedules.

Whenever running late for an appointment or meeting, always apologize and inform those waiting that you will arrive promptly when you do arrive. Calling or messaging them ahead of time to let them know you will arrive punctually can also be useful so they know when you are coming and can expect you there on time.

Maintaining eye contact when speaking is also key to being punctual in Scotland. You don’t want your partner thinking you are staring them down; but some level of eye contact should be maintained so they know you are engaged and interested in what they have to say.

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Being aware of your personal space in Scotland is also key. It is considered impolite to stand too closely or put an arm around someone’s shoulder; giving someone extra breathing room may also be considered polite.

Learning some Scottish phrases and understanding the culture will help you build stronger relationships with colleagues from Scotland and avoid awkward encounters.

Scots tend to speak in soft tones, so it is wise to avoid overly aggressive language during conversations with them. Establishing rapport may take some time; be patient and welcoming until this relationship has formed fully.

Punctuality is essential to success, and should be practiced throughout your life. From exams and job interviews to studying for tests or managing time efficiently, being punctual helps build your confidence while effectively using time.

Personal Space

Scots excel when it comes to business etiquette, so treat your Scottish counterpart with respect. Avoid getting in their face at meetings and dinners and trying to elbow them out of the way; arrive on time whenever possible and avoid calling or texting in sexually charged language; while belly laughs are welcome, too many won’t do any favors for either party involved.


If you’re planning on doing business in Scotland, it is essential that you understand its culture. Even though you might not possess much prior knowledge about its language and traditions, learning Scottish business etiquette will make the experience less daunting for all involved parties.

Scotland is predominantly English-speaking; however, Gaelic remains popular with a substantial population. Gaelic can often be heard spoken on road signs, in newspapers and cultural events across Scotland.

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Business settings often permit speaking in a Scots accent as long as it doesn’t sound aggressive or harsh; doing so shows respect for their heritage while still communicating your willingness to collaborate on joint projects.

When speaking in a Scots accent, be sure to use short sentences and simple vocabulary – this helps avoid misinterpretations by younger generations and prevents unnecessary confusion and miscommunications.

Scots enjoy light conversation about weather, sports teams, Edinburgh events or their travel plans – these topics tend to be highly off limits in Scotland! Politics and religion discussions should also be avoided to keep things polite.

Remember that in a Scottish business environment, teamwork is highly prized over individual projects and initiatives. Therefore, be ready to collaborate with various people from diverse backgrounds.

Most Scottish companies appoint managing directors as the top executive, responsible for making key decisions during meetings. It is best to observe their interactions with other people so as to comprehend their “chain of command.”

As is true with many European cultures, indirect communication and euphemism play an important part of everyday interactions and negotiations. Therefore it is generally considered wiser to avoid direct speech during negotiations in favour of using vague statements, humor or non-committal agreements as alternatives.

Establishing trust is also about avoiding physical contact between yourself and someone you have just met – this includes shaking their hand or speaking directly to them.