Monaco Business Etiquette

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Bienvenue à Monaco! ("Welcome to Monaco!" in French)

Monaco, officially called the Principality of Monaco, is a tiny Western European country bordering France and the Mediterranean Sea. Monaco is so small, in fact, that it is classified as a sovereign city-state and microstate. Other European microstates include Andorra, Liechtenstein, Malta, San Marino, and Vatican City.

Many Americans may be familiar with Monaco because of the famous American actress, Grace Kelly. Kelly was a golden-age Hollywood starlet famous for roles in films such as Rear Window and To Catch a Thief. In 1956, Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier of the Grimaldi family (which has ruled Monaco since the 13th century) and became Princess of Monaco. To many people, Kelly's story is akin to a real-life "fairy tale."

Although Monaco is small in area, it's crammed with wealthy business people, and tourism has rapidly become one of its major modern industries. So before you take a business trip to Monaco, why not learn about the dos and don’ts of Monacan business etiquette!

THE LOWDOWN

  • The capital of Monaco is, funnily enough, also Monaco. Its largest quartier, or district, is Monte Carlo. 
  • The official language of Monaco is French; however, other common languages spoken in the country include Italian, English, Monégasque, and Occitan.
  • Monaco is relatively ethnically homogeneous. The population is composed of French, Italian, English, and Monacan peoples. 
  • The main religion in Monaco is Roman Catholicism.
  • Monaco is a unitary constitutional monarchy, meaning they have a Minister of State as well as a prince (currently Albert II, son of aforementioned Prince Rainier and Princess Grace Kelly).
  • At 2 sq. km, Monaco is the second-smallest country in the world behind Vatican City.
  • Fun fact: As of 2014, approximately 30% of Monaco's population was composed of millionaires. That's one rich country!

dRESSING SHARP

  • Men should wear a dark, conservative suit and tie. 
  • Women should wear a dark, conservative suit, skirt, or dress.
  • Class, simplicity, and conservativity should be the main goals of your business attire.

MAKE OR BREAK MEETINGS

  • Make businesses meetings at least two weeks in advance; make sure to avoid requesting meetings over the summer as many Monacan residents take summer vacations.
  • Initial meetings are typically an opportunity to discuss business prospects, not make firm decisions. 
  • Monacans do not appreciate the use of exaggerated claims (hyperbole), so avoid speaking in such a manner during meetings or negotiations. It is more prudent to speak directly and earnestly. 
  • Etiquette in Monaco is very similar to French etiquette. The main tenets are courtesy and respect. 
  • When exchanging business cards and any informative literature, please ensure it is printed in French (or the language of your contact, if different).

DINING DECORUM

  • Monacans appreciate good food, so don't pass up the chance to dine out with your host(s).
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables and seafood are popular meal staples. 
  • Because Monaco is close to the Mediterranean Sea, many Monacans follow and enjoy a Mediterranean diet rich in fish, oils, anise, and various indigenous plants.
  • Dining etiquette is similar to French dining etiquette.

DOWN TO BUSINESS

  • When it comes down the decision making process, avoid fiery or heated discussion or debate. You will earn more respect from Monacans by keeping a cool head and remaining even-keeled and moderately friendly.
  • Do not appear overly eager or pushy.
  • If you do not speak French (or the language of your contact, if different), it is a good idea to hire or bring an interpreter to meetings. 

Now that you’re ready for your business trip to Monaco, don’t forget to watch out for our next Business Etiquette blurb!

Au revoir! ("Goodbye!" in French)

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