Business Practices in Israel
- The Fundamental Principles of Business Culture
- An Israeli society has a polychrone culture (relation oriented), contrary to American, British, or German cultures which are monochrone (rule oriented). Sentiments and emotions are paramount in Israel in relations, whereas intuition and facts are secondary! Israel's society can be considered as a large family. In a family, one can reject the form and act in a direct, immediate and honest manner. What we excuse in a family is often interpreted outside as impolite or rude.
- First Contact
- To speak to someone, use his title and surname. If the person has no title, use Mr. or Ms., followed by his surname. Once the relationship is established, Israelis tend to prefer to be called by their first name. It is recommended to learn to pronounce the names in Hebrew and Arabic.
Do not feel offended if an Israeli does not offer you his hand but physical contact (very important). Keep a direct eye contact. If Israelis come a little too close (invading your personal space) it is normal to accept it. Delaying the communication might not be as well received.
- How to Present Yourself
In Israel, it is a habit to address a person by his first name. The title of Mr. or Mrs. will be used to respect you. Invite him to address you by your first name,the communication will be considered more intimate and honest.
- Business Relations
Meetings in Israel can be and are often spontaneous. Puncuality is unpredictable. Always keep 15-20 minutes before thinking that your party is late. After several hours of work, you will observe a taught tone.
An Israeli does not have lunch; he considers it as a waste of time and prefers sandwiches and drinks for the meeting. Dinner is however an important time, an excellent occasion to discuss about family, culture, history, sports.
Before inviting for a meal, it is advisable to check if your partner is religous. If he is, respect their values and find a "kosher"restaurant. Israelis are not heavy drinkers. However inviting your counterpart for beer is acceptable.
Israelis are very warm and friendly. When they invite you to the house or a restaurant, they are not simply polite. They display genuine friendship. Accepting the invitation creates good personal relations. Remember in Israel relations count all the more if there is no longer a strong commercial portfolio.
On reaching the house, it is in good tase to bring flowers, chocolates or a bottle of good wine.
In professional relations, a book about your country, a pen decorated with a logo of your company, an office clock or a photo of yourself with your Israeli associates will be appreciated.
- Business Communication
During a meeting, telephone calls can be taken and others persons allowed to enter in the office or the meeting room. Interruptions of this type are common in the Israeli culture. Do not consider this as being rude, arrogant or impolite. This ia a very informal society where the persons are capable of doing a number of tasks at the same time. They like to mix work with pleasure and want to know more about you. They also like compliments. Meet or communicate with your potential associates to try to understand their needs and expectations from the negotiations. Provide the other party with clearly defined agenda about the purpose of the negotiations. Give the advantages of concluding the contract. Making some concessions is important for your Israeli interlocutor. Draw up a contract when the negotiations have ended.
- Dress Code
- Wear your dress which you are comfortable with. The Israeli expects to see you dressed as per your country's etiquette. Dressing up like an Israeli in an informal dress can be a source of confusion. You are different and this will be understood and respected. If your first meeting takes place on a summer day, wear the dress but leave the vest in the hotel.
- Visiting Cards
- Exchange of business cards in not an established practice in Israel, even though it is increasing. Always give it at the start of the meeting and request for one in return.
- For Further Information
Doing Business with Israel
Guide to Israel
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