THE IRISH CULTURAL BACKGROUND
- The basic greeting is a handshake and a hello or salutation appropriate for the time of day.
- Eye contact denotes trust and is maintained during a greeting.
- It is customary to shake hands with older children.
- Greetings tend to be warm and friendly and often turn into conversations.
Gift Giving Etiquette
- In general, the Irish exchange gifts on birthdays and Christmas.
- A gift need not be expensive. It is generally thought in giving something personal that counts.
- If giving flowers, do not give lilies as they are used at religious festivities. Do not give white flowers as they are used at funerals.
- Gifts are usually opened when received.
Company or organisational cultures differ widely in Ireland. As a result you may find meetings vary in their approach and substance. In one setting the purpose of a meeting is to relay information on decisions that have already been made, whereas in another it may be the time to get feedback and input.
Following on from this, meetings may be structured or unstructured. In most cases they will be relaxed. It is customary to have a period of small talk before the actual meeting, which is when a rapport is built to take, forward into the meeting.
Meetings may occur in several venues, not merely the office. It is quite common to conduct a business meeting in a restaurant or pub. This allows all participants to be on equal footing.
Expect a great deal of discussion at meetings. Everyone is expected to participate and they do, often at great length. The Irish like to engage in verbal banter and pride themselves on being able to view a problem from every angle.
The Irish have turned speaking into an art form. Their tendency to be lyrical and poetic has resulted in a verbal eloquence. They use stories and anecdotes to relay information and value a well-crafted message. How you speak says a lot about you in Ireland.
The Irish appreciate modesty and can be suspicious of people who are loud and tend to brag. They dislike a superiority complex of any sort. So, for example, when discussing your professional achievements it is best to casually insert the information in short snippets during several conversations rather than embarking on a long self-centered outline of your successes.