Though it isn't exactly a superpower of a country, the Czech Republic is a pretty well-off territory. It currently ranks in the top 50 richest countries in the world, making it a covetable country to do business with. However, if you do intend to work or partner up with businesses here, you'll have to follow a set of etiquette rules first. Adhering to these customs will make or break your chances of sealing the deal and rising to the top here. So it's better that you learn about Czech business etiquette to impress them enough that you'll succeed here with no problem at all!
Never Set Appointments on a Friday
Fridays are pretty important for the Czechs. Though it remains an ordinary weekday for most, many businessmen and employees end work after lunch to go back to their countryside homes
. There are many instances in which people work in big cities but go back to their rural hometowns on the weekends. So more often than not, the Czechs don't appreciate having to stay for a meeting or an appointment on a Friday afternoon. At the same time, August is the one month when most employees are allowed to go on vacation, especially since it's around summertime. You'd do well not schedule your meetings and appointments then too!
Punctuality is Important
When you work in the Czech Republic
, you'll always have to arrive early or on time. Punctuality matters a lot in this country's corporate world, especially when it comes to meetings. It's important to note that first meetings are always about introductions and getting to know each other. If you arrive late to the meeting without prior notice, you risk leaving a bad impression. Even more so if you're representing your company in the said meeting. So to be safe, always arrive at least five minutes early. And if you can't help but leave, make sure to let everyone know beforehand.
Appropriate Dressing is a Must!
Although most companies in the Czech Republic expect you to dress conservatively, it really depends on the nature of the business. For instance, if it's a big-named conglomerate, you'd do well to put on a suit. Men should have their suits tailored to their size and body shape while women can either go for pantsuits, skirt suits, or mid-length dresses. Meanwhile, for startup companies, small businesses, and the like, business casual is okay. Your best bet here is to pair a crisp white shirt with comfy chinos or denim jeans. Women, on the other hand, can get away with casual yet modest dresses.
Respect The Business Hiearchy
The Czech Republic's job market
and work culture follow a strict hierarchy that everyone is expected to follow. In this environment, the boss is king! Decision-making is always left to the top heads of the company and during meetings, the most senior positions present are given utmost priority and respect. It's even come to the point that, in first meetings, which are often just introductions and getting to know each other, middle managers are sent to attend instead of top executives. It's only when the project or task at hand is officially underway will the bosses go to the meetings and make decisions.
Engage in Small Talk
Speaking of initial introductory meetings, don't be afraid to engage in some small talk. In fact, that's what first meetings are, most of the time. Socializing is a big part of Czech business etiquette. Businessmen/women here prefer to get to know more about their potential clients/colleagues before working with them. You can talk about the weather, compliment their office spaces—mundane topics like that. Never get too personal with your small talk, especially during your initial meetings, as this will be considered rude
and inappropriate. Politics is also a topic you ought to avoid in these situations.
Don't Expect Counter Offers
When negotiating with the Czech, know that what they offer is often what they expect to get in return so don't expect a lot of counter-offers. For instance, when they propose a certain amount for the budget to undertake your current project, know that they expect you to agree or set forth a similar amount or idea on the table. And when you try to negotiate for a different amount, they won't have anything else to offer. This isn't to say that the Czechs are rigid and unwilling to negotiate, but rather, they often have a well-thought-out idea of how to do their business that they rarely expect any disagreements or rebuttals.
Strictly Adhere to Protocol
In relation to the previous point, make sure to always stick to the protocol. For example, if a meeting has a certain agenda, you're expected to stay on top of it throughout the entire meeting. The Czechs are sticklers for protocol and they always prefer to conduct business systematically rather than go with the flow. On a positive note, this makes them very organized and ready for the business at hand. But on the negative side, this also makes them too frigid and relatively unable to adapt to sudden changes along the way.
If there's one thing you absolutely must have when you work or do business with the Czech's, it's patience. These businessmen/women prefer to be meticulous when conducting business, which means it may take a long time before a final decision is made. Even a debate on a singular part of the agenda can take up most of the meeting before an agreement is reached. That's how detailed they are when working with other people. You'd do well to be as patient as you can when working with the Czechs. Though it might be too much at times, you're assured of hard work and efficiency instead.
Adhering to the Czech business etiquette is the right thing to do if you plan to work or do business in the Czech Republic. It's also a form of respect and professionalism that might just help you in the long run!