Although English is increasingly widely spoken, it would be dangerous to assume that all business acquaintances will be fluent in the language.
English language levels vary widely – check on the language levels before meetings or conference calls.
Much more emphasis is placed upon the spoken than the written word. Therefore, if you want a specific issue to be given serious consideration it is really important to speak to people about it – don’t just rely on email. Best of all are face-to-face meetings but if they are not practically possible then it is important to phone people.
Emotion is not suppressed in business situations and discussions can appear heated and at times acrimonious to those from a culture which frowns upon any visible shows of emotion during business dealings. This outward show of emotion is seen as a positive and implies engagement and emphasis. The time to be worried is when your contact is quiet — not when they are boisterous.
Greeks tend to stand much closer to each other and have far stronger eye contact than many other cultures. It is important that you are not intimidated by these issues, as lack of strong eye contact or maintaining too great a distance could be misconstrued as stand-offishness or untrustworthiness.
In social situations, you may be asked quite personal questions regarding your family life or finances.
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This World Business Culture profile is designed as an introduction to business culture in Greece only and a more detailed understanding needs a more in-depth exploration which we can provide through our training and consultancy services.