THE CZECHS CULTURAL BACKGROUND
Czechs are private people until they get to know you. They are formal and reserved.
Once you develop a personal relationship Czechs open up a bit, but they are never overly emotional.
Czechs tend not to acknowledge people whom they do not know as they walk along the street or ride the train.
Meeting and Greeting
. Initial greetings are formal and reserved.
. Most greetings include a handshake, direct eye contact, and the appropriate greeting for the time of day.
. The offer to move to the informal is generally offered by the woman, the older person, or the person of higher status.
. Moving to the informal without an invitation insults the person and may be viewed as an attempt to humiliate them.
Giving and Accepting Gifts
. If you are invited 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.
. In general, you should be cautious about giving flowers, since people over the age of 35 often see flowers as having a romantic connotation.
. If you give flowers, give an odd number, but not 13, which is considered unlucky.
. Do not give calla lilies as they are used at funerals.
. Gifts are usually opened when received.
. Appointments are mandatory and should be made in advance.
. Letters should be addressed to the company rather than a specific person. This prevents a letter from being held up if the person it is addressed to is away from the office.
. Do not try to schedule meetings on Friday afternoon as many Czechs leave for their country cottages after lunch.
. Many businesses close during August.
. Punctuality for meetings is taken extremely seriously.
. Initial meetings are scheduled to get to know each other and to see if your Czech associates believe that you are trustworthy. The first meeting may be with a gatekeeper rather than the actual decision maker.
. Expect some small talk and getting-to-know-you conversation before business is discussed.
. Maintain direct eye contact while speaking.
. Do not remove your suit jacket unless the highest-ranking Czech does so.
. Presentations should be accurate, detailed and thorough.