10 Tips On Business Etiquette In Nigeria

June 3, 2015

Business etiquette in Nigeria may best be summed like this: “yes means maybe.” For a foreigner, doing business in the country may not always be straightforward. So we’ve rounded up 10 essential tips on business etiquette for any business traveler to Nigeria.

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Check and re-check on your negotiations

Stick around for a while after making a deal, rather than hopping back home on a plane the next day. Negotiations in Nigeria are “fluid,” according to CNN. You should keep on eye on the deal you’ve made to make sure it goes through.

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Know that yes doesn’t always mean yes

In Nigeria, agreeing with someone is a sign of respect. So a Nigerian you do business with might say yes to a deal out of respect for you, even if he doesn’t have the means or the intentions to see it through. It’s not a form of manipulation — it’s an understood sign of respect to say “yes.” After that, further discussion might take place that shows the “yes” was a “maybe.”

 

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Expect to bargain

But know that bargaining is common practice. So it isn’t rude to negotiate a price or the terms of a deal, and the person you’re meeting with isn’t being rude by trying to do that with you. In fact, bargaining is expected.

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Know the right people

More than any law or regulation, knowing the right people in Nigeria will ensure your deals go through. Internations.org suggests you develop a relationship with your colleagues and superiors in Nigeria before attempting to do business.

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Expect drop-ins

Nigerian business meetings are rarely held in a private office or secluded area. It’s acceptable for family members, friends or other associates to drop in unannounced, and for the individual you’re meeting with to give them his or her audience.

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Don’t finish your food

If you’re having a business meeting over a meal, do not finish your food. Eating everything on your plate implies you’re still hungry, and that you were not provided with enough food.

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Forget physical boundaries

Nigerians don’t keep the same few feet of distance between one another when speaking that Americans do. So don’t be surprised if someone you meet in business stands very close to you when you speak, and do not back away.

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Expect to get personal

In America, you might think it’s inappropriate during a business meeting to get personal, and talk at length, for example, about your mother’s operation. But in Nigeria, expect a good portion of the meeting to be spent talking about family and health matters. It’s a way for your colleagues to get to know what kind of person you are.

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Use their last name

In Nigeria, you should call business colleagues “Mr” or “Mrs” (insert last name) until invited to do otherwise. Do not take liberties by calling someone by their first name.

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Go easy on the eye contact

Making a lot of eye contact with a Nigerian could be misconstrued as rude or aggressive. Nigerians don’t use eye contact as much as the U.S. or the rest of the Western World. Refrain from doing too much of it.

Source: Internations.org

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