Is your company looking to set up a new business in the Czech Republic? Here are some useful business etiquette insights to help guide you in the right direction:
a) When greeting a Czech colleague, you should shake hands firmly and maintain direct eye contact. Appearance is important in the Czech business community and there is a saying that the way you dress shows your respect for your business partner; so wear smart conservative business attire. Cleanliness and tidiness are also a must. Remain standing until you are invited to sit down as a special seat may be reserved for you!
b) When scheduling meetings, avoid Friday afternoons as many Czechs leave for the country after lunch as well as the month of August when many businesses are closed. Make appointments well in advance and always be punctual as this is taken very seriously. Presentations should be simple, accurate and detailed and, if necessary, have charts and figures to back up your claims. Business is conducted slowly so you will have to be patient and not react to the apparent strict adherence to protocol. Always maintain direct eye contact when speaking and do not remove your suit jacket unless someone in authority does so first.
c) Business is hierarchical with decisions coming from the very top. Initial meetings are scheduled as introductions to get to know each other and build trust with your Czech colleagues, so the first meeting may be with a middle manager rather than the decision maker. Czechs are non-confrontational and often take an indirect approach to business dealings. When negotiating, they offer what they expect to get and do not often give counter-offers.