Switzerland: Communication Style
The Swiss value honesty, responsibility and self discipline. Emotional displays andjokes do not go over well. The Swiss strive to be honest and often interpret thingsliterally. One should be careful about teasing or making jokes, as these may bemisunderstood. People in Switzerland, particularly in the German regions, tend tobe very straightforward. The Swiss may appear reserved, at least initially. They areattentive listeners, however. They do not appreciate questions about private matters.
Most Swiss shake hands upon greeting one another, although close friends may kisscheeks or embrace. If meeting in a small party, one is expected to shake each person’shand while looking him or her in the eye. A third person typically makes the necessaryintroductions when two people meet for the first time. One should shake hands withwomen first and otherwise in order of rank.
One should be sure to address people by their titles and last names, following thelisting on their business cards. Professional titles and appropriate forms of addressare important. In a business setting, first names are seldom used and are reserved forfriends and family. These are the courtesy titles for men and women in French, Germanand Italian: Mr. is Monsieur, Herr and Signore; Mrs. is Madame, Frau and Signora. Notethat Mademoiselle, Fraülein and Signorina are almost exclusively reserved for younggirls.