Czech Meeting Etiquette

Czechs like to plan meetings well in advance and it can be quite difficult to set up a meeting at short notice.

This need to plan ahead stems from the fact that Czechs do not like to arrive at a meeting unprepared. Czechs are detail oriented and prefer to arrive at a meeting feeling that they have all the facts and figures at their disposal. (Friday afternoon is not a good time to try to organise a meeting in the Czech Republic.)

It is important that you arrive at the meeting on time as lack of punctuality can imply a lack of professionalism as well undermining the seriousness of your intentions. In a country where everybody is seemingly mistrusted in the early stages, it would be foolish to put yourself further on the back foot for over such a simple matter as punctuality.

Cards are usually exchanged at the start of a meeting, although there is no particular ritual which goes along with the exchange. As a great deal of importance is placed on titles and educational background, it is quite a good idea to ensure that this information is printed on your business card.

Czechs tend not to show too much emotion within a business meeting and this, coupled with limited body language and facial expressions, can make your counterparts quite difficult to read. Do not mistake lack of emotion or physical feedback as a sign of lack of interest.

There will often be some small talk at the start of a meeting but this is limited in scope and duration.

A brief overview of some key concepts to consider when doing business in Czech Republic

Written and Produced by Keith Warburton

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Overview

The Czech Republic’s economy has, on the whole, performed very well since the structural and political changes of the 1990’s. Although growth stalled after the banking crises, it seems to have returned through a combination of public expenditure and direct foreign investment. Key indicators such as inflation and unemployment levels show reasons for optimism going forward.

The Czech Republic also scores very highly on many key indictors around ‘well-being’ with personal security, work-life balance, education and skills scoring particularly strongly. In all, the country seems to have come through the transition from Soviet satellite state to modern social economy much better than some of its Central and East European neighbours.

These factors lead us to conclude that the future of the country is bright and that doing business in the Czech Republic probably makes sound commercial sense. The economy is relatively strong, the country is geographically well-positioned, there is an educated workforce and a buoyant consumer culture – all the ingredients would seem to be in place for you to make a success of the Czech market.

However, as with all new markets you really need to do some research before you start to make any plans and it is important to take Czech business culture into account. For example, generational issues will come into play when starting to work with people in the Czech Republic. Are you dealing with people who were educated and worked during the former Soviet era or are your contacts younger professionals raised in a completely different period? Approaches to business can differ significantly between these two groups – and that’s just one of several cultural issues you should understand in advance of starting any business dealings in the country.

This country profile provides an overview of some of the key aspects of Czech business culture in a concise, easy to follow-format. The document includes information on:

  • Background to business
  • Business Structures
  • Management style
  • Meetings
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Women in business
  • Entertaining
  • Top tips