Intending to conduct new business in Estonia? We offer the following business etiquette tips to help smooth the way:
- Estonians are generally quiet and reserved and initial greetings are quite formal. They are softly spoken and do not like to draw attention to themselves, so remember to act accordingly in any business situation. Remaining rational, calm and avoiding extreme emotions are qualities they admire. If you have a naturally loud voice, then learn to temper it! Communications will become less stiff once a relationship has been developed.
- Always address business people by their title and surname. If they do not have a professional title, the correct greeting is ‘Härra’ for a man and ‘Prova’ for a woman, followed by their surname. Do not use first names until you are invited to do so. At a meeting, shake hands with everyone present and maintain steady eye contact. Meetings generally begin with a welcoming speech from the most senior Estonian present and, likewise, the most senior person from your team will be expected to respond with a short speech.
- Estonians are direct communicators, saying what they mean and doing what they say they will do. They expect foreign business people to keep their word and maintain a dignified and professional approach at all times. They do not like to be interrupted when speaking and passive silence is a big part of their communication style. Learn to refrain from talking too much and expect to be patient in business dealings. It may take several meetings before they are ready to reach a decision.
Are you considering doing business in Estonia? Asinta’s Partner in the area, MAI CEE can answer any questions you might have. Simply drop them a line via their contact page to get the conversation started.