Business Meeting

Greetings should include a firm handshake and direct eye contact

The first meeting may be with a middle manager, rather than the actual decision maker

Business is conducted slowly

You will have to be patient and not appear ruffled by the strict adherence to protocol

Do not remove your suit jacket unless the highest-ranking Czech does so first

A weak handshake means that you are weak

No direct eye contact can be taken to mean that you are hiding something

Remain standing until you are invited to sit down as there might be a seat reserved specifically for you

Punctuality for meetings is taken extremely seriously

Business is hierarchical with decision-making power held at the top of the company

Initial meetings are scheduled as introductions to get to know each other and to build trust with your Czech associates

Presentations should be simple, accurate and detailed and, if necessary, you should have charts and figures to back up your claims

Give an indication of what will be discussed, which will give the participants the opportunity to plan and prepare for the meeting

Make sure you get a confirmation of attendance from all the attendees prior to the meeting

Set out the agenda of the meeting

Organize the meeting room and equipment and seating arrangement

Letters should be addressed to the company rather than to a specific person. This prevents a letter from being held up, if the person it is addressed to is away from the office

It is generally considered inappropriate to be more than five minutes late in business dealings

Colleagues should be informed of any unavoidable delays

Do not underestimate a Czech business partner; give them enough space during the meeting

listen to their ideas and recommendations and you may be surprised with different ideas and new ways of looking at things

Come prepared and be confident, but not arrogant, because Czech managers are very sensitive to this

Do not look down on your Czech partners. You want to gain their trust and overcome any perception of distance between you

You should present your opinions but not force them upon

Both partners should come to the meeting table, as equals and treat each other with respect and openness

It is recommended to offer options for the dates and time of the meeting

Arrange translator, if required

Refreshment and drinks should be arranged

Don‘t forget to produce copies of any documentation required for the meeting, in the language of your business partner

Try to distinguish between formal and informal language, and situations that will allow you to select appropriate forms of address and greetings .

Expect to participate in some form of small talk and introductory conversation, before entering into business discussions with your Czech colleagues

It is not common to strike up a conversation with a stranger in the Czech Republic

They try not purposely to offend and will often go out of their way to protect someone’s feelings

The host is in charge of organizing the meeting

During the first meeting, it is normal to start by introducing both companies and the initiating party will outline the goal for the meeting

The host will normally select meeting attendees according to the status and position of the foreign partner

The first meeting is made with a person in a middle management position

For Czech companies with older managers every international language is a foreign language, which can make communicating difficult

If the Czech side is hosting the meeting, then they prepare the agenda and run the meeting

The senior manager from the Czech company, will introduce their team, including their positions in the company and academic titles, at the beginning of a meeting

Do not interrupt or raise the level of your voice during business discussions with your Czech colleagues

Maintain direct eye contact while speaking, but don’t expect close eye-contact from their side

Respect your Czech counterparts’ sense of personal space

Don’t refuse any invitation offered to you, as crucial business decisions are often made outside the business environment

If they lower their eyes and become silent, they are uncomfortable with something you have said

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