Liverpool, England, an industrial town on the River Mersey about 180 mi northwest of London, was Britain's major port city in the days of the empire. It was also where more than 9 million emigrants departed on their voyage to the New World.
Liverpool is full of character and is Britain's most filmed city outside of London—parts of it have doubled as Dublin, Paris, Moscow and Venice.
Liverpool's biggest claim to fame is its identity as home of the Beatles.
Liverpool's waterfront has been declared a World Heritage site, and it was the European Capital of Culture for 2008, which included a yearlong roster of activities designed to highlight the city's heritage. This brought great investment to the city. It has its own Royal Philharmonic orchestra and a thriving nightlife, with bars, restaurants, hotels and shopping springing up everywhere.
In the past decade, billions of dollars have been spent to upgrade the city without erasing its character, and these days Liverpool boasts more museums and galleries than any other city in the U.K. outside of London.
May and October are pleasant times to visit, when day temperatures tend to be cool. Temperatures in June-September are generally a bit higher.
What to Wear
Adaptable layers are a good idea—a day may be wet and cold one minute, sunny and warm the next. An umbrella is usually a good idea.
Business wear has become less rigidly formal. Depending on the type of business, ties are often optional, and a sleek suit is more likely to be admired than a stuffy one.
Many North Americans stereotype the British as being prim, proper and perhaps a bit stuffy. It's far from an accurate picture, but in most situations, you can expect a certain emphasis on reserve and politeness. Maintaining a respectful, formal demeanor is likely to work to your advantage, at least until your business relationship is well-developed. From there, you'll soon discover the sense of humor and irony that make the British so charming.
Appointments—The government does not require foreign businesses to have a local sponsor or intermediary. Generally speaking, a local go-between isn't necessary, though one can prove useful in some situations. Schedule meetings in advance, and be punctual.
Personal Introductions—A handshake and a nod are common. Use your acquaintance's last name until instructed to do otherwise. Titles are important: If a person is introduced to you with a title, use it.
Negotiating—Meetings will have a formal atmosphere, especially early in the relationship. The decision-making process is slower than is normal in some other countries, but do not attempt to rush the pace. Expect the conversation to be direct, almost blunt. However, the British have a wonderful, self-deprecating humor that will inevitably demonstrate itself.
Business Entertaining—Business lunches and dinners are common, although dinners tend to be more social than business occasions and drinking alcohol is common. Follow your host's lead in what topics to discuss.
Body Language—Your British acquaintances will probably keep their distance with little physical contact during conversation. Most older people are very conservative with regard to gestures and physical expressiveness.
Gift Giving—Gifts are generally not part of most business dealings. If you're invited to a home, a gift of wine, chocolate or flowers is appropriate.
Conversation—The British often poke fun at themselves but will naturally take offense to outsiders who criticize them. There is an internal split with regard to the Royal Family, so it's best that your comments on the subject be inquisitive, not declaratory. Be aware of the differences between England and the other areas that make up the United Kingdom (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland). Though united politically, each has its own culture, and lumping them together will please no one. Personal questions are usually reserved for later meetings. If your English diction arises from the U.S., remember that some words have different meanings in the U.K. but this shouldn't cause any real problems.
Passport/Visa Requirements: Citizens of Australia, Canada and the U.S. need passports but not visas. Reconfirm travel document requirements with your carrier before departure.
Predominant Religions: Christian (Anglican, Roman Catholic), Muslim.
Time Zone: Daylight Saving Time is observed from the last Saturday in March to the last Saturday in October.
Voltage Requirements: 240 Volts.
Telephone Codes: 44, country code; 151,city code;
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Courtesy of: Darla Logsdon
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