Meetings play an important role in the Czech business world. In today’s blog post, you’ll learn the similarities and differences between the German and Czech meeting cultures, as well as what to expect when you’re invited to lunch or dinner.
Aside from a checkered mutual history and geographical proximity, Germany and the Czech Republic are closely connected. This applies to both tourism and a number of other economic and industrial spheres. Close collaboration between German and Czech business partners is thus not uncommon. This is why we want to use today’s blog post to cover the Czech business world and address the topic of business meetings in more detail.
Small but subtle differences
The first thing you should know is that there are a lot of similarities between the German and Czech meeting cultures, including the following:
- Type of greeting [handshake and direct eye contact]
- Time frame [e.g., in the morning or early afternoon, between one and two hours]
- Fixed agenda
- General meeting guidelines [e.g., mutual respect and a polite manner]
However, when it comes to your meetings, keep in mind that Czech business partners rarely express criticism, address problems directly or analyze them extensively with their partners. In order not to damage anything on the relationship level, which plays an essential role in business success, Czechs typically avoid conflict and evade confrontations. Keep this cultural characteristic in mind if you ever find yourself in a more heated situation in a meeting. Proceed with caution, express yourself more indirectly and read between the lines.
You should also know that business cards are becoming increasingly important in the Czech business world, so make them attractive and preferably bilingual [English and Czech]. Furthermore, the best time to exchange business cards is not – as many would assume – during greetings, but rather shortly before the start of the meeting.
It could also be a good idea to have an interpreter by your side in certain situations. When selecting a candidate, try to find one with industry- and/or culture-specific knowledge.
The importance of business dinners
If you’re in the Czech Republic and a Czech business partner invites you a business meal, this is usually a good sign. This step is only taken when trust has been established between business partners. Accept the invitation and use it to continue to foster your relationship. Keep the following things in mind when it comes to the meal:
- Show up on time!
- Czech hosts typically select the restaurant, make the reservation and pay the bill.
- Please don’t make the mistake of thinking you have to try and/or eat all the food offered to you! Polite refusals aren’t construed negatively in any way.
As you can see, there are some small but subtle differences in the Czech culture that can have a major impact on your business success. Please keep in mind that the country’s culture is constantly changing, and younger managers are often very well acquainted with international business conventions. If you have an intensive collaboration with the Czech Republic or any other Central or Eastern European countries coming up, we’d be happy to lend a hand. We offer cross-cultural trainings on 80 different target countries.