Looking to set up a new business in Albania? Our business etiquette insights can help establish good relations with your Albanian colleagues:
a) You would be well advised to have a good translator as well as an Albanian to act as your representative for business meetings etc. if you are not fluent in the language. This will help to improve communication and negotiations and enable you to remain composed at all times – a trait the Albanians respect. Displays of frustration, anger and loud expressions are definitely frowned upon.
b) Business meetings are very formal affairs in Albania so dress and act appropriately. They are normally held later in the day rather than first thing in the morning. Albanians are very proud of the positions they hold so make sure you are aware of their titles and have yourself introduced to each person attending the meeting, starting with the higher ranking personnel first.
c) Haggling is common practice in Albania so this is where your translator will be invaluable, if needed, to make sure all important points are properly covered and all prices/costs are clearly stated from the outset. Going back on anything after negotiations have concluded is definitely frowned upon. Decisions about negotiations are often made by top officials and it can take a long time before a final decision is made, so be prepared to wait and be patient.
d) Gestures can be confusing in certain parts of Albania as shaking the head means “yes” and nodding means “no”, so make sure you are clued up in advance. Albanians are very expressive and use their hands a lot to communicate with. If you are unsure of what the gesture may mean, be sure to state your purpose clearly to avoid any misunderstanding.
For more information on doing business and providing employee benefits in Albania, please contact Asinta’s partner in the area, MAI CEE.