Doing business in Canada

Canadian companies have a relatively flat hierarchy. The corporate culture is democratic, therefore meetings are interactive in that everyone participates and expresses their opinion.

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However, individual points are usually not discussed too extensively, because Canadians prefer a targeted, agenda-driven meeting that leads to a concrete action plan. 

Expansive conversations and marathon sessions are therefore neither common nor welcome.

Keep it simple

Presentation content tends to lean towards the general rather than delve into too much detail. Best practices for presentations include short PowerPoints using a simple, straightforward design with a maximum of five bullet points per slide, with very little time spent on background information.

Communicate clearly

This practice is reflected in the Canadian communication style, which is clear, precise, direct and factual. Harmony and restraint are key to successful communication. Objective criticism is possible, but in spite of all openness Canadians will always endeavor a certain level of courtesy. 

Despite their love for punctuality and factual communication, Canadians always make time for relationship management and small talk. 

For example, they are comfortable talking about personal topics at a business lunch. Canadians wish to create a pleasant atmosphere, and try to establish a trusting relationship with their conversation partners.

Distinctly different from the USA

In particular, they are openly curious about the world. This is most likely due to the natural multiculturalism of a nation of immigrants with a strong emphasis on political correctness. Canada is a liberal and social country that is distinctly different from its mighty neighbour, the USA. 

In this regard, Canadians compare their country rather with Europe, especially the United Kingdom. One should always keep this in mind during casual conversation and small talk.

All in all you should learn more about the Canadian business culture to reach your targets successfully. Contrary to what is widely believed, the Canadian business world differs in many ways from that of the USA or the United Kingdom.

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