24th August 2017

export.gov: Czech Republic - Business Customs

Although the Czech Republic is considerably more liberal than the U.S., Czechs are typically more reserved than Americans, especially when meeting people for the first time. Czechs do not always smile as a social greeting as Americans, Britons, and many other Westerners do.  

This can create a false impression that Czechs are cold or unfriendly. Czechs are more formal than Americans and a serious demeanor is regarded as a sign of respect for the visitor and the business being transacted. The Czech language uses formal and informal forms of “you”. It is normal for Czechs to speak to new acquaintances in a more formal manner. Business partners do not usually call each other by their first names, however, Czech businesses are becoming more comfortable with informality when dealing with foreigners. 

Start slowly by building a few good relationships. Let Czech friends introduce their contacts which will make it easier to develop a good business network. An attempt to accomplish business with a flurry of quick meetings and barrage of emails is more likely to result in failure. Czechs prefer to get to know someone, learn about the person’s background and firm, and then, if they are comfortable, get down to deal-making around the dessert course, or even at a follow-up meeting. Most Czechs want to build long-term, two-way business relationships and will be put off by too much emphasis on an immediate sale.

Because the Czech Republic is a small country where industry leaders know each other well, word-of-mouth reputation is extremely important, especially where business and government intersect. News about - good or bad - can spread quickly. Political and business circles often interlink, and at higher levels it is not uncommon for individuals to move from a ministry job to the private sector and back to the government over a several year period. Therefore, it is important to maintain strong relationships, even if a contact leaves the firm with which your firm has business.

The business custom is to be punctual - even early - for appointments and engagements. It is best to start arranging meetings several weeks before a visit, as Czechs are reluctant to arrange impromptu meetings at the last minute.

Read full article on business customs in the Czech Republic by https://www.export.gov portal here.


Members of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic