Doing Business in the Czech RepublicFor the intercontinental globe trotter, doing business with and in foreign countries poses some interesting cross cultural challenges. There are many examples of business deals going wrong or relationships turning sour over culturally insensitive actions. Appreciating a country's cultural nuances, their protocol and etiquette is important in maximising your potential on the international stage.
This guide to doing business in the Czech Republic offers some simple pointers to those doing business in the country to help avoid potentially negative situations and help build better relationships. It is not intended to summarise all 'doing business tips' nor meant to stereotype the Czechs. It simply highlights some important key areas for consideration when doing business there.
If you plan to meet potential business contacts it is advisable you make appointments well in advance. This should be done via a formal letter or fax. Americans should note that dates are written as date/month/year rather than month/date/year. English is well known throughout the country but it is a good idea to try and get letters translated as a courtesy.
Meeting and Greeting
When doing business in the Czech Republic the handshake is normal practice. This should be firm and brief. If introduced to a Czech woman of an older generation it may be polite to see if a hand is extended first. Shake hands both on meeting and departing and remember not to leave one hand in your pocket while doing so as this is poor etiquette.
In the Czech Republic you will notice people get someone's attention by raising their hands, palm facing outwards, and extending the forefinger.
When seated do not cross your legs by resting one ankle upon the knee.
Avoid talking with people with your hands in your pockets or while chewing gum.
Doing business in the Czech Republic still has both Russian and German influences. When negotiating it is important to bear in mind that the country has a complex legal system and plenty of red tape regardless of efforts to modernise it. Be prepared for a certain amount of bureaucracy.
Relationship building is an important part of oiling the wheels of business. Make an effort to get to know your counterparts personally. Engage in conversation and try to learn a bit more about their family and interests. When meeting, always start with small talk and wait for the other party to change the focus of conversation to business.
The decision making process can be quite slow in the Czech Republic as they prefer an unhurried, methodical approach to analysing proposals and figures. Be sure to bring as much information as possible with you to avoid further delay.
If you plan on doing business in the Czech Republic then invest in some business cards. They do not necessarily have to be translated but for such a minimal cost it is worth it to demonstrate your appreciation for their language. If your company is well established it is a good idea to have the founding date on it, similarly if you have any academic qualifications ensure you state them on your card.
Doing Business in the Czech Republic
The above examples point to a few areas one must take into consideration when doing business in the Czech Republic. Such tips are meant to act as a safety-net for those doing business there to help avoid misunderstandings and promote better communication.
Business Culture GuidesWe offer free guides to doing business in many countries. Please visit Business Culture Guides for a full list.
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