When you are new to a country, it is good to be aware of cultural expectations. While you are networking, be aware of these elements of Canadian culture.
Canadians are a time-conscious culture. Being on time or slightly early is expected. Usually, if an event or meeting starts at 8 pm, it will start on time. Being even just 10 or 15 minutes late is viewed as rude. If you must be late, send a text or call to let the person know that you are running behind schedule.
Canadians have a larger than average personal space. If you notice that someone takes a step back or away, it probably means that you’ve stepped to close. Although shaking a hand is normal and expected when you meet a new person, regardless of gender. However, other forms of toughing or hugging, especially in a work situation. At a networking event, you will notice that people are grouped with generous space in between them. When you talk to people, look them in the eye and avoid crossing your arms. It is okay to gesture with your hands but with restraint.
Canadians complain about the cold but are also proud of their ability to withstand it. So, if doubt, mention the weather outside.
Not sure how to start a conversation with a Canadian: make a comment about the weather. Living in a climate where the weather varies a lot from summer to winter, discussing the weather is a common neutral small talk topic. Canadians complain about the cold but are also proud of their ability to withstand it. So, if doubt, mention the weather outside.
Similarly, Canadians will often ask “How are you?” as an opening question. Your answer can be “Fine. How are You?” or “I’m good, thanks.” Then you can move into more specific conversation topics.
It may feel rude or like bragging to promote your skills and abilities. Canadians tend to be a relatively direct culture where you are expected to tell people about yourself and what you have accomplished.
It is a good tactic to focus on the projects and the impact of your work to show examples of your skills and experience. These scenarios also give room for questions and discussion about your work and allow you to show your abilities and why you would be a valuable employee.
To learn more about where to find networking opportunities in our article: How to Network in Canada.
Want to know more? Learn more about networking in Canadian culture: