Business Practices in the Czech Republic
- The Fundamental Principles of Business Culture
The business customs is to be punctual.
Czechs are a more formal people and a serious demeanor is regarded as a sign of respect. This can create a false impression that Czechs are cold or unfriendly.
The Czechs take a reserved and often impersonal approach to business meetings. However, more open methods of business, like business lunches and such meetings, is increasing in popularity.
Leadership and authority is vertical in structure. Czech managers maintain their status and separate themselves from subordinates. Decision-making power is centralised and is rarely questioned or challenged by those of a lower rank.
- First Contact
- 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.
- When greeting your Czech counterparts for the first time, administer a firm handshake, establish direct eye contact and the appropriate greeting for the time of day
- How to Present Yourself
- The use of status titles in both verbal and written forms is extremely important. You should refer to your Czech counterparts as “Mr/Mrs...”, “Dr”, or “Ing” (Engineer) until invited to do otherwise. The use of first names without permission may be considered offensive, as they are generally reserved for close friends and family.
- Business Relations
- 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.
- It is common to give some presents in occasion of Christmas and especially for your important clients: gifts with logo of your company (such as calendars, pens, bags, T-shirts, bottle of good wine, ...). But be very carrefull about state sphere – it could be considered as attempts to bribe (not before Christmas). Gifts are usually opened when received.
- Business Communication
- The preliminary stages of negotiation can be slow and detailed. This is a direct outcome of the Czech tendency to avoid the unknown. Your Czech colleagues will be reluctant to digress from business protocol or show signs of flexibility during negotiations. Establishing and securing trust is a crucial element of the negotiation process, even up to the closing of a business deal. For this reason, it is rare to seal deals with spoken agreements as any renegotiating may damage your business credibility. It may take several visits to reach a decision. Avoid high-pressure tactics. Czechs generally offer what they expect to get and do not often give counter-offers. Czechs are non-confrontational and often take an indirect approach to business dealings. If they lower their eyes and become silent they are uncomfortable with something you have said.
- Dress Code
Czechs dress formally preferring dark business suits and ties, and often vests. A blazer or sports jacket is sometimes acceptable,
Women should wear conservative suits or dresses without vivid colours.
- Visiting Cards
- Although it is not necessary, it's good to have the translation on the opposite side. If you have any academic qualifications ensure you state them on your card. The best time to make an exchange of business cards occurs when you meet a businessperson for the first time without any special ceremony.
- For Further Information
Doing business in CR
Czech culture, customs and etiquets
Czech business culture
Guide to Czech Republique
Guía para al República Checa
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