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Business Etiquette In Ghana

According to Oxford Dictionary, the word “etiquette” is a “guide to protocol or formal behaviour.” This therefore means that etiquette is a practical and useful guide, to make things better. Business is about transactions and working with people. As such, you have more dealings with people than with things. If you are not receptive to this social etiquette, your business may suffer. Let me give a few examples.

Being in a job interview interview, a candidate laughed out loud while being asked a question. The question was not funny, but the subsequent job offer was. I received a call on my cell phone while I was executing an important transaction. I did not pick it up, but it disrupted the transaction. When I was in a meeting with all the works officers of a tuition centre whose enrollment fees had faulted. We were trying to fix the problem but one of the employees was making us all red-faced. Again an employee in a bank while withdrawing money from a customer’s account, I could not hear the whole issue being discussed and my position could have been compromised. These are just a few examples of how unprofessionalism disrupts business and business transactions.

We all have a good reputation here. Our reputation is what we are made up of. It is what creates our power. In fact, it is who we are in the eyes of other people. In fact, it may be what we are to some people. Our reputation often, if not always, precedes us. It creates reputation before we do. It creates the impression of who we are. It is based on the perception of others, including your clients, prospects, colleagues and superiors and those that work with you.

There are four types of reputation. They are personal, professional, social and business.

Personal Reputation: Your first impression starts with the way you look. Are you smart or sloppy? Are you good-tempered or impatient. If you are a fashion show case, you have a good chance of creating a good impression. Have a good grooming, dress smartly, present yourself well and smile. If you are well groomed, you may be perceived to have a good personal character.

Professional Reputation: You will be judged by how you present yourself to the world. Have a professional look. If you want to be taken seriously by others, you must dress the part and speak the part. Your personal character is reflected on your professional image. If you have a mellow personality, you will probably have a mellow tone of voice. If you are dominant, you will probably speak in a firm voice.

Listen to the way people speak to you. They may have a high opinion of you because of the way you present yourself. They may assume you are what you sound like.

Social Reputation: Others may only know who you are as a friend. This is where the only think that matters is the way you treat them. Be friendly, polite, and pleasant. Be cheerful and genuine. Most people like people who like them. You can actually create a good impression of being a nice person to people who only know you socially.

Business Reputation:

This is business etiquette – your least important reputation. This is the atmosphere in the way you do business with people; how you talk to clients, prospects and clients, how you greet people, how you treat them, how you keep your promises and commitments to people. Your business etiquette reflects on your professional image and social image.

This image shouldn’t be a negative one. Your business etiquette should include the following:

  • Keep your promises. Stay true to your word.
  • Dress to impress. Dress according to your level.
  • Don’t apoligize for who you are. Always be positive
  • Treat your clients with respect. They are clients, not peasants to be treated as nobodies.
  • Avoid being distracted when other people are speaking to you.
  • Your main objective is to listen. Don’t be afraid to ask for an explanation. Someone who seeks an explanation may be considered an intelligent person.
  • Avoid being an “argo-koko” person. Nobody likes to do business with a person who is aggressive, rude, arrogant, egotistical or pushy.
  • Look at people when they are talking to you. Avoid the act of fidgeting.
  • Avoid the act of playing with your watch. It is considered a sign of an impatient person.
  • Don’t make noise when people are speaking to you. Try to maintain silence. Fanciful people who are long-winded generally expect their audiences sit quietly, fidgeting and twirling their thumbs. This is to be expected of young people who have just learnt how to put words together. It is not to be expected of a seasoned, well-centered, business person in their mid to late 30’s. There is no reason for a grown man in a suit to keep on playing with his watch, or fidgeting his fingers or doing anything that indicates that he is not attentive. Polite people don’t make noise.
  • If you are looking for work with a particular person or company, don’t be pushy. Be positive. Don’t put pressure on people. This will indicate that you are desperate. Be sure of yourself.
  • If someone has committed an error and you feel like you are in a position to help them, help them. It will be looked upon negatively if you took advantage of that error to your personal advantage instead of helping them.
  • Be respectful and courteous.
  • Respect people’s time. You are of value. Treat others with respect.
  • Don’t send duplicates or irrelevant information to other people.
  • Don’t send people unnecessary materials. They generally get tired of a person who sends a lot of things that they don’t really need.
  • Don’t start a conversation that doesn’t concern the person you are talking to.

These are just a few guidelines to good business etiquette. You will make it in the business world as long as you are considerate to people and things. Take good care of your standing.

Ghanaian greetings:

Whether you greet someone who you know or not, the greeting will be the same. This is because we have slight variations on the way we greet we first met you, the way we greet you if we have met you before and the way we greet old friends.

Of course, there are some punctuality issues involving greetings. As far as the Ghanaian culture is concerned, it is not polite to greet somebody directly if they are not present. One useful piece of advice would be to use the phrase, “excuse me” when you are trying to get attention of someone.

Ghanaian Trade Agreements:

Ghana’s Trade Agreements According To the Constitution (Preamble and Article 8)

The government operates under these agreements: 2

  1. Charter of the United Nations (UN)
  2. Charter of the African Union (AU)
  3. Charter of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)
  4. Charter of Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)
  5. Charter of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD)
  6. Convention on Biological Diversity
  7. Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)
  8. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)

From this above set of agreements, the government is expected to conduct its affairs in accordance to the following:

  1. Non-Alignment: The government must avoid tendencies of becoming an imperialistic power. In other words, the government should avoid being influenced by countries who (understandingly) have strong ties with other countries.
  2. Freedom of Association: The government must ensure its citizens are free from the militant influences of other countries. The populace must be free to select the form of government they wish to see in Ghana. The government must ensure that there is democracy.
  3. Rights of Children: Governments must ensure that resources due to children are given to them. In the case of Ghana, this means that the government must ensure its children are given the right to effective education
  4. Equality: The government of Ghana must understand that there are different groups of people who play a similar role in the society who must be treated in similar manner. We must always fight injustices and inequalities

The above are the major effects of our constitution on our trade agreements.

Trade Agreements Gcc:

Ghana is an active member of the group of countries that comprise the nations of oil producing countries in the Middle East and North Africa. This is a group of petroleum exporting countries. Ghana is the 58th member of this group. The countries of GCC are Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and the Republic of Yemen. These countries are also petroleum importing countries. Several countries take petroleum importing roles as well. Ghana is one of them. Petroleum exporting countries are located along the Persian Gulf. This area is known as the “Gulf Region”. Countries in this region are also major producers of crude oil, the oil produced as a primary source and processed in the country where it is produced. This petroleum is refined as a secondary source. It is usually sold to other countries at lower prices.

Ghana, being a major oil exporting country, has a lot of resources which are exported to the Persian Gulf region. Oil is what Ghana exports to the Gulf region. It will not be a waste for Ghana to set up an arrangement in which these countries repay Ghana for the oil that is expended by them.

The effects of this trade arrangement to Ghana would be great. The idea of this arrangement is egalitarian. It is simply to ensure that oil consumers pay for the oil they consume. This is to avoid the following:

  1. Price volatility: We have seen that when prices of goods get too low, some producers will produce too much of the product. This results in the reduction of the selling price of the product.
  2. Natural disasters: In countries which are oil dependent like Ghana, natural disasters could result in an agreement between the supplier and the consumer. In the event that a product will cost the consumer less than it costs the supplier to produce it, it makes sense to supply it to the buyer. This indicates that a natural disaster like drought, flood, hurricanes, cyclones etc are likely to undermine the (theoretically) reduced price of oil based products.
  3. Devaluation of the US Dollar: When there is a change in the value of the US dollar, it could lead to fluctuations in the pricing of oil. Devaluation of the dollar would also mean that oil in the international oil market could double in price.
  4. Slippery slope effect

Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index:

The Corruption Perception Index is a ranking given to countries based on how corrupt they are perceived to be. It is a ranking of the countries who are considered to have the most and the least corrupt in the international community. Countries who are perceived to be at the top of the corruption perception index generally have highly effective governments, the rule of law, and a culture of accountability. These countries also have respected civil service. In other words, people who are morally competent can enter these countries with ease.

These countries are called “visa-free countries” or countries that grant you “speedy entry”. You do not need to go through visa Applications. 

 

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