Belgian Meetings


As might be expected from what has been said earlier, Belgian meetings are characterised by the search for a pragmatic, workable solution to whatever the problem might be. Confrontation and dogmatism are to be avoided and everybody's views should be given attention. (In more hierarchically structured companies in Wallonia, it may appear that the boss is never contradicted and that the views of the rest of the team are irrelevant. Do not be fooled by this seeming reluctance to debate with the senior figure. The debates are carried out — but probably not in the full meeting.)

Many meetings are held for the purpose of information dissemination with little participation from those attending. These information-type meetings are obviously a vital forum if people are to be made to feel included in the process and part of the solution. Many, more task-focussed nations find these meetings both time-consuming and irrelevant but this is to misinterpret the role of the meeting.

It is rare for open disagreements to arise in meetings, although it is more likely to happen in Flanders, where plain talking is respected (see 'Communication Style' section later) than in the more diplomatic French-language areas of Wallonia.