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Government dealings in Sierra Leone tend to be more formal than those in the commercial sector. However, an initial formal approach is always appreciated. It should take into account seniority, rank and position of the individuals you meet with. Allow the host to initiate less formal interaction. Respect is shown towards anyone older in years, and this is reflected also in the business setting. If you are older than your counterparts, you may find that more is expected of you. If you are younger, it may be a challenge to earn their confidence.

Leoneans tend to be direct when speaking to each other socially. Conversation is animated and sometimes loud. In a business situation, conversation can be more subdued. Be ready to present your information fully, and have support material available. A persistent, professional demeanor, even in the face of seemingly unnecessary delay, is key. The effective businessperson will identify what is needed to move a process forward, and will ask for specifics that achieve that end. This may take several meetings and some subtle follow-up between the meetings, to keep things moving along.


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