Business Practices in Austria
- The Fundamental Principles of Business Culture
Business meetings adhere to strict agendas, including starting and ending times. Rank and position are important. Since most companies are relatively small, it is often quite easy to meet with the decision- maker. Business is conducted slowly. You will have to be patient and not appear ruffled by the strict adherence to protocol.
Austrians are very detail- oriented and want to understand every innuendo before coming to agreement. Avoid confrontational behaviour or high-pressure tactics. It can work against you.
- First Contact
- Although Austrians prefer third-party introductions, they do not need a personal relationship in order to start a business. Appointments are necessary and should be made 3 to 4 weeks in advance when meeting with private companies. It is extremely rude to cancel a meeting at the last minute and it could ruin your business relationship.
Greetings are formal. A quick, firm handshake is the traditional greeting. Maintaining eye contact during the greeting is important.
Some Austrian men, particularly those who are older, may kiss the hand of a female. A male from another country should not kiss an Austrian woman's hand. Women may also kiss men, but men never kiss other men.
When entering a room, shake hands with everyone individually.
- How to Present Yourself
Titles are very important and denote respect. Use a person's title and their surname until invited to use their first name.
It is considered rude to have one’s hands in one’s pockets while being introduced or while talking to anyone.
- Business Relations
A small amount of getting-to- know-you conversation may take place before the business conversation begins.
Austrians are more concerned with long-term relationships than making a quick sale.
Austrians are suspicious of hyperbole, promises that sound too good to be true, or displays of emotion.
Small gifts can be given if you are meeting the person for the 1st time, generally at the end of the meeting. Gifts should be nicely wrapped.
Gifts are usually opened when received.
- Business Communication
Communication is formal and follows strict rules of protocol. It is imperative that you exercise good manners in all your business interactions.
There is little joking or small talk in the office as they are serious and focused on accomplishing business objectives/goals.
During business negotiations, Austrians are direct to the point of bluntness.
- Dress Code
Business dress is conservative and follows most European conventions.
Men should wear dark coloured, conservative business suits with white shirts.Women should wear either business suits or conservative dresses, complimented with elegant accessories.
- Visiting Cards
Business cards are exchanged without formal ritual.
Have one side of your card translated into German is preferred. Include any advanced academic degrees or honours on your business card.
If your company has been in business for a long time, include the founding date on your card as it demonstrates stability.
- For Further Information
Kwintessential cross cultural solutions
Country Commercial Guide- Austria
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