Cultural Clues… Do’s & Taboos
A series of cultural tips for countries from A to Z
Communication Guidelines for The Czech Republic
Punctuality for meetings is an important aspect of Czech business culture and it is taken extremely seriously. It is generally considered inappropriate to be more than five minutes late.
Do not interrupt or raise the level of your voice during business discussions with Czech business people.
Respect your Czech counterparts’ sense of personal space. Close personal contact with business acquaintances is frowned upon and should be avoided at all times.
Don’t refuse any invitation offered to you, as crucial business decisions are often made outside the business environment. The Czechs value hospitality as a means through which to build both personal and business relationships.
Expect to participate in some form of small talk and introductory conversation before entering into business discussions with Czech business people.
Don’t be surprised if your Czech counterparts ask you about your personal earnings. This is an acceptable line of enquiry to strangers in the Czech Republic.
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.
It will take several meetings for your Czech business associates to become familiar with you and appear comfortable and friendly.
One of the most underlying and inherent features of the Czech culture is their polite and humble approach to life.
During business dealings a direct “no” will often be replaced by an expression such as “it is difficult” or “we will see” in order to avoid confrontation and maintain a certain level of politeness.
Business is conducted slowly. You will have to be patient and not appear ruffled by the strict adherence to protocol.
Business is hierarchical. Decision-making power is held at the top of the company. Decisions are reached slowly.
Avoid high-pressure tactics. Czechs generally offer what they expect to get and do not often give counter-offers.
Czechs are private people until they get to know you. They are formal and reserved. Once you develop a personal relationship, Czechs open up a bit, but they are never overly emotional.
Leadership and authority is vertical in structure. Czech managers maintain their status and separate themselves from subordinates. As a result of the hierarchical system of Czech business, decision-making power is centralized and is rarely questioned or challenged by those of a lower rank.
- Weather, nature and historical beauty
- Your home country, city and culture
- Your work experience and humorous anecdotes as they relate to work
- Hobbies and sports such as golf, tennis and soccer
- Anything about art, music and culture
Avoid Talking About
- Extremely serious topics not related to work
- Global problems, war, the nuclear issue or pollution
- Money-although they may ask you about it, they don’t talk about their own wealth
- Politics in general
- The old communist regime
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