Like their neighbours in Germany, Poles tend to like to arrive at a meeting having done a great deal of preparation and would feel that people who come less well prepared are showing a lack of professionalism.
As with most ‘pre-planning’ cultures, agendas are usually produced well in advance and the expectation is that the agenda will be followed with little, or no, deviation.
It is also expected that people arrive at the meeting on time and that meetings will finish at the stated time. 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.
For people from cultures which tend towards emotion, meetings can seem quite formal affairs with attendees speaking one at a time and with few interruptions being allowed. It can also appear that people show little or no reaction to what you are saying – don’t worry, this lack of physical responsiveness is not a bad sign and should not be taken as a lack of interest. People will ask questions and respond when they need to.
Do not be surprised if the people you are meeting start the meeting with a degree of small talk – it’s all part of the relationship-building process and while relationship- building is not as important in Poland as in Russia, it is still essential to remain patient during this phase of any meeting.
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This World Business Culture profile is designed as an introduction to business culture in Poland only and a more detailed understanding needs a more in-depth exploration which we can provide through our training and consultancy services.