November 15, 2016:
Intending to conduct new business in Georgia? We offer the following business etiquette tips to help smooth the way:
a) Georgia is a hierarchical society and age, position and power earn a lot of respect. Senior and elder people in business will be introduced first with the shaking of hands being the normal greeting. You should then shake hands with everyone else present (both on greeting and leaving) and maintain eye contact when doing so as this is seen as a sign of respect and trustworthiness. Do not forget to use academic and professional titles, as and when appropriate.
b) Upon a first meeting with your Georgian colleagues, be prepared to give an overview of your background, experience and general purpose of your visit. First meetings are more about seeing if doing business together is a possibility, so do not expect any contracts to be signed or firm commitments made. Time and patience are definitely needed! Decisions are generally made at the top of a company so try and make sure that the boss or company owner is present at your meetings to avoid any unnecessary delays in a decision being reached.
c) Georgian business culture is noticeably less formal than in other countries and Georgians can be notoriously unpunctual – it is not uncommon for people to arrive up to an hour late! However, if you are meeting with a VIP, then punctuality is very important. There can be frequent interruptions during a meeting as Georgians see nothing wrong in dealing with more than one issue at a time. Do not interpret this as disinterest or show any slight annoyance as it is the norm.