Business Practices in Hungary
- The Fundamental Principles of Business Culture
- Although Hungarians are transactional and do not require long-standing personal relationships in order to conduct business, being introduced by someone they know and trust can often help. Socializing is an important part of the relationship building process. Expect many invitations to dinner or cultural events. If you have the time, reciprocate invitations.
- First Contact
- Preferably through telephone, then follow up by an email. Initial meetings are scheduled to get to know each other and for your Hungarian colleagues to determine if you are trustworthy. Expect some small talk and getting-to-know-you conversation before business is discussed.
When meeting business personnel a handshake is expected. A man should however wait for a woman to extend her hand before doing so although with the younger generation this may not be an issue.
When doing business in Hungary you would need to be aware of appropriate titles; this is an indication of the fact that Hungarian society can be quite hierarchical. Obvious titles such as Doctor, Professor, Director, etc should be used with surnames. If you are unaware of any title then use the surname with Mr (ur), Miss (kisasszony) or Mrs (surname + ne; i.e. Mrs Smith would be Smithne).
- How to Present Yourself
- Surname then first name.
- Business Relations
- Business is conducted slowly. Hungarians are very detail-oriented and want to understand everything before reaching an agreement. Deals in Hungary are finalizing often in a context of entertainment (restaurants, shows ...).
- Around the Christmas holidays, Hungarian businessmen may exchange symbolic gifts, a bottle of wine, or similar.
- Business Communication
- A lasting effect of the Communist era has been a lack of spontaneity in the negotiations. The combination of slow decision making and an aversion to risk means you need patience.
- Dress Code
- Depending on the sector and the level of the meeting, but generally suit and tie. Do not remove your suit jacket without asking permission.
- Visiting Cards
- Business cards are exchanged without formal ritual. Have one side of your card translated into Hungarian. Hungarian style includes any advanced university degrees on your business card.
- For Further Information
Kwin essential guide
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