Intending to conduct new business in Kazakhstan? We offer the following business etiquette tips to help smooth the way:
- Kazakhstan is a very hierarchical society and greetings tend to be rather formal; a gentle handshake using both hands and a smile with direct eye contact is the norm. Some men will not shake hands with women as they are Muslim, so be sensitive to religious differences and do not be offended. Wait to be introduced to everyone present, which will normally be in order of importance.
- Business cards are considered extremely important to establish one’s position, steer your way through bureaucracy and to open doors. Cards are normally exchanged without a great deal of ritual. It is advisable to have your card printed in Russian on one side and English on the other and make sure to include your title.
- Kazakhs will expect business meetings to be conducted with people of a similar rank, therefore it is important to forward the bios/CVs of all team members well in advance of the meeting. There is generally a fair amount of small talk before business is discussed, possibly over tea and sweets. Wait until the other party starts to discuss business and be prepared for the meeting to last a long time. Kazakhs are masters at delivering roundabout speeches!