With the continued march of technological advancement, the planet gets smaller every day, and the global business community is one of the biggest benefactors. Even in the recent past, a small company could hope to conduct commerce locally in its home country, but today’s virtual world has very few borders.
One country on the rise is the Czech Republic. Here’s a brief look at the business culture in the Czech Republic so you’re better prepared for meeting executives that call this country home.
A General Overview of Czech Business Culture
One of the most important things to keep in mind when doing business in the Czech Republic is the reliance on hierarchy and formality. Companies have a clear leadership structure, which means the senior managers make important decisions, and they are rarely called into question by subordinate employees. With so much emphasis placed on a clear chain of command, it can be easy for foreigners to get frustrated over the slow pace of negotiations, but that is an inevitable side-effect of the orderly flow of information up the ladder to the decision makers.
Your First Meeting With Czech Business Professionals
When you first meet with representatives from a Czech company, it will likely be with members of middle management. This initial appointment is designed as a way for the organization to get an impression of you and vice-versa. You’ll likely engage in quite a bit of small talk during this meeting, but you’ll eventually get down to discussing business. Personal or professional titles should be used when addressing your host as opposed to first names.
A meeting with a representative from a company must always be scheduled in advance, and that is traditionally done in writing. While many businesses correspond in both English and German, an effort to have your request translated into Czech will be greatly appreciated. Punctuality is highly valued, so be sure to arrive 10-15 minutes before your appointment, and always call if you’re running late due to circumstances beyond your control.
Dress for Business
Czech professionals bring a sense of formality to business proceedings, and that extends to the dress code when in the office. While American companies embrace casual comfort, you’ll make a good first impression by making smart sartorial decisions:
- Men are expected to don dark business suits with a shirt and conservative tie.
- Women should wear conservative and stylish pantsuits, dresses or a combination of blouse and pants.
Other Things To Keep in Mind
Long lunches are often taken by Czech professionals, but it’s not uncommon to discuss business during the meal. You won’t be expected to give a gift during an initial meeting, but if you do, keep it simple and inexpensive, as many companies put caps on the value of gifts that can be received.
Make a Splash in the Czech Republic
You now know the basics on how to do business in the Czech Republic, but there’s so much more to learn. If you’re interested in getting some practical experience, turn to International Business Seminars for an immersive experience in Prague and other European cities. Learn more about our programs and apply for a summer study abroad seminar.