Italian Business Communication Styles

Italians speak a lot. Good communication is loquacious and voluble. In order to convey a strongly felt point, it is important to use all possible powers of rhetoric to sway the listener.

Debate is an emotional issue where emphasis is highlighted through increased resort to emotionalism. Reserve or business detachment can be interpreted as signs of disinterest rather than professionalism. If you are engaged in the process and have strong opinions why not show them?

The combination of loquacity and visible emotion can often be misinterpreted by other cultures as lack of professionalism or even aggression. The ability to use language in such a way in Italy is, however, a key management tool and without the ability to veer towards theatricality, a manager’s armoury might seem a little light.

Formal presentations feature less heavily in Italian business life than they do in the USA or the UK and when given can seem a little stiff and even overly academic. Information would typically be disseminated in a less formal manner in smaller meetings.

Italians put more faith in information given to them orally by somebody with whom they have a strong, trusting relationship than any information sent in writing from afar. Discuss things in Germany in a meeting and a request for written confirmation of the ideas will invariably come as the meeting concludes: send something in writing to Italy and a request invariably comes back for a discussion of the issues.


This country-specific business culture profile was written by Keith Warburton who is the founder of the cultural awareness training consultancy Global Business Culture

Global Business culture is a leading training provider in the fields of cross-cultural communication and global virtual team working.  We provide training to global corporations in live classroom-based formats, through webinars and also through our cultural awareness digital learning hub, Global Business Compass.

This World Business Culture profile is designed as an introduction to business culture in Italy only and a more detailed understanding needs a more in-depth exploration which we can provide through our training and consultancy services.

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