Facts and Statistics
Tami Lancut Leibovitz
Czech Republic is located in Central Europe and borders Austria, Germany, Poland, and Slovakia. The capital of the country is Prague. Most of the country’s population is Czech which is mainly Roman Catholic.
The Czech language is a Slavic language spoken in the country. German, Polish, and Hungarian are the most spoken second languages.
Czechs are logical, practical, and efficient people with strong family values. They respect and follow rules and regulations that allow people to plan and manage their lives.
Business Protocol and Traditions in Czech Republic
Appointments are mandatory and should be made long in advance. However, do not schedule meetings on Friday afternoon as many Czechs leave for their country cottages after lunch.
Arriving in time for meetings is taken very seriously.
Initial greetings are formal and reserved.
A handshake, direct eye contact, and the appropriate greeting are customary.
Initial meetings are “probation” meetings. Czech colleagues make them informal to check that you are trustworthy.
Expect some small talk and getting-to-know-you conversation before business is discussed.
Keep eye contact while speaking.
Only close friends and family members are allowed to use first names. Do not call a person by the first name unless you are invited to. The invitation for informal greeting usually comes from a woman, an older person, or a person of higher status.
Never remove your jacket before the top Czech manager.
Create accurate, detailed and thorough presentations that include charts and figures to support your statements.
Many businesses close during August.
Czechs are formal in their communication. They avoid confrontations and often take an indirect approach in business.
They’ll do their best not to offend a person in front of them and always try to protect someone's feelings.
If a Czech avoids an eye contact and becomes silent, that person is uncomfortable with something you have said.
Business is done slowly but you must be patient, since decisions are made little by little and it may take a few visits to make one.
Always arrive on time.
If you are invited to a Czech house, remove your shoes when you enter.
Expect to be treated with respect.
Table manners are formal in Czech Republic.
Do not speak work and business, as the Czech separate personal and work life.
Wait to be seated.
Hold the fork in the left hand and the knife in the right hand while eating.
Do not start eating before the hostess.
Unless the meal is formal, the napkin remains folded next to the plate. At formal meals, the napkin is unfolded and put on your lap.
The oldest woman or a guest of honor is generally served first.
You should initially refuse the second helping initially as it is considered polite. After the host insists, you should accept more.
Compliment the meal while you are eating. This allows the hostess to discuss food, preparation, and recipes.
If you get an invitation to dinner, bring a box of good quality chocolates, or flowers to the hostess or a bottle of wine or good brandy to the host. However, be careful giving flowers, since people around the age of 35 often see flowers as a romantic connotation.
If you bring flowers, buy an odd number, except 13, which is considered unlucky. Do not bring calla lilies as they are brought only to funerals.
Gifts are usually opened upon receival.
Doing Business in Czech Republic – General Guidelines
To achieve successful business results in Czech Republic be aware that after years of Communist rule, business operates slowly. The older generation is not eager to accept changes and is very authoritative. Nonetheless, the younger generation is rather enthusiastic to explore new challenges.
Many employees may require some basic training and coaching so that they’ll be more willing to share their ideas and express their opinions.
In general, Czechs do not socialize with their colleagues unless there is a rare occasion. At the same time they are good at building pleasant relationships with colleagues, customers, and business partners and pride themselves for using proper behavior in any situation.
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