Business Meeting

It’s unnecessary to have your business card translated

If your colleague is experienced in dealing with North Americans, he may initiate moving to a first-name basis to help you feel at ease

The Dutch like a balance in payment and other obligations

Everyone in a Dutch company, from the boss to menial labourers, is considered valuable and worthy of respect

Giving compliments is not a part of Dutch business culture

It may be necessary to plan ahead, when arranging meetings with senior executives, as agendas tend to be booked up some time in advance

It is good practice in the Netherlands to make an appointment, one or two weeks in advance

once the timing has been agreed there is no need to check or reconfirm

If you have a conflict of priorities,  explain the situation to your Dutch partner and he  will certainly find an alternative arrangement

When problems occur, blame will sometimes be apportioned on the ‘system’ or another external force, rather than on one person

When it’s necessary for someone to be praised or criticized, the Dutch will do this only in private

Privacy is importance in the Netherlands

Family and business life are kept separated

Frequent short and direct eye contact is felt to be a sign of sincerity

Continuous looking away is felt to be sneaky, indicating dishonesty or a lack of social skills

Meetings are team-oriented, with or without the participation of senior management

Project team meetings may be planned, at short notice and often go on longer than the participants really want

The most suitable time for a business meeting is probably about 10 in the morning or in the early afternoon

Dutch managers can generally be approached directly for an appointment

Punctuality and a respectful use of time are generally appreciated

It is useful to obtain feedback after the meeting, and to establish what the attendees thought of the content and what was discussed

Academic titles are only used in writing and in work life, but not in speech

Best policy is to wait for your Dutch contact to introduce you to others

It is also part of Dutch business protocol to shake hands as you are leaving

It may be appropriate to start a business meeting with a few pleasantries, though this should not take too long

Ensure that you bring enough business cards and information material about your company

For social meetings in private or in business, one can arrive 5 minutes late, but “official” social meetings will start on time

If formal presentations are planned,  the venue of meetings, who needs to attend, and any required equipment, need to be arranged in advance

Plan to keep to the scheduled finish time

Internet and video conferencing and conference calls are a regular event these days

The most important factor to be aware of, is the planning and preparation necessary to ensure the meeting achieves its objectives

Ensure all the required attendees are aware of the meetin

Ensure the location is thought through, that the room has all the required facilities, and has enough space for the numbers likely to attend

If you are responsible for the meeting, it is advisable to arrive early before the start of the meeting to check the room

Make sure there is a reasonable supply of good coffee as well as soft drinks

In the Netherlands it is usual to allow other people to speak, and not to interrupt them when they are speaking

The ideal time to hand out this background material is at the beginning of the meeting

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