Here are a few pointers on Ghanaian business etiquette that can be used as a guideline during the visit.
Etiquette in Ghana
- Never use your left hand. The right hand is used for greetings, exchange of money, receiving items, hauling taxis etc.
- When shaking hands between themselves Ghanaians will hold the right hand in the normal manner but will then twist and click each other’s middle finger. The louder the snap the better. You are welcome to try “the West African handshake”.
- Always greet the people you meet, either by handshake or by saying good morning or good evening.
- Greetings and handshakes are generally commenced at the right hand side of the group and then moving towards the left.
- Take your time to inquire about people’s health, family and jobs. Rushing through a greeting is considered rude.
- Business cards are exchanged without any formal ritual. Always give and receive the business card with your right hand.
- Do not be afraid of sharing. Sharing both food and stories is part of Ghanaian culture.
- Always be respectful, especially to elders.
- When visiting a chief there are particular rules; remove your hat, keep your hands out of your pockets and do not cross your legs. Always make sure to bring a small gift, e.g. a bottle of schnapps.
- Punctuality is not seen as overly important. When doing business in Ghana you will experience the difference between “Ghanaian time” and “European time”.
- If you know the academic or professional title of a person you are addressing – use it.
- Ghanaians have a keen sense of humour and enjoy telling jokes. If a Ghanaian teases you, it shows that they are becoming more relaxed around you.
- Ghanaians usually dress in long pants and shirts (for men and women) or at least knee length dresses (for women) during the week. On Fridays it is normal to wear traditional African print. After work it is normal to change into shorts and t-shirts.