Doing Business in LuxembourgFor an international business person or business traveller, doing business in foreign countries brings with it cross cultural challenges. Understanding a country's business culture, protocol and etiquette is important in establishing good business relationships.
This guide to doing business in Luxembourg offers some introductory points to some of the above mentioned areas such as business culture and etiquette. It is not intended to summarise all 'doing business tips' nor meant to stereotype. Rather, it highlights some important key areas for consideration when doing business in Luxembourg.
Meeting & Greeting:
The segregation of personal and private space in Luxembourg means that business is a formal domain. Proper behaviour and professionalism is expected at all times.
A firm handshake is expected at the beginning and end of meetings when doing business in Luxembourg. It is polite to wait for a woman to extend her hand first. Eye contact is important in imbuing a sense of confidence and trust.
Address people using their title or simply by Mr or Mrs followed the surname. First names are only every used between close friends or colleagues in business so avoid becoming too informal unless you are addressed in such a way.
Small talk is important in building rapport but be sure not ask personal questions.
Luxembourgish, "Lëtzebuergesch," is the national language but both French and German remain the official languages. As well as the language, the mixture of French and German influences is also visible in the communication style in Luxembourg.
Direct communication is valued within business, but only if expressed with a certain finesse, sensitivity and diplomacy. People will want to make a point, but not at the expense of a relationship or the cause of embarrassment. Very often, the level of a relationship will determine how direct someone can be. The newer the relationship, the more diplomatic one must be.
Meetings & Negotiations:
Meetings should always have an agenda. Before doing business in Luxembourg try to send one ahead of time to help provide a framework for the discussion. Although guidelines are needed people are still flexible and will be willing to digress and extend meetings in order to address things properly.
People like background information to provide context and help make decisions. At initial meetings it is important to briefly cover the history of your company and how this now leads to the current meeting. Written documentation to act as a back-up is also recommended.
Decisions are made slowly and usually by the top of the chain of command. Rather than high-pressure tactics to try and speed up the decision making process check whether your hosts need further statistics or information. Patience, charm and politeness opens doors whereas emotion and aggression shuts them.
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