Czech Republic: non-confrontational
As with all the former Soviet bloc countries, the Czech Republic needs to be viewed as a transitional economy in the process of moving from a state-controlled economy to one which is embracing a more capitalist model. After the political changes occurred, there was a vacuum with regard to business direction and models and the Czechs pulled in advice and assistance from all over the world.
There now seems to be three types of business structures: Ex-state monopoly enterprises, foreign capital subsidiaries and a proliferation of entrepreneur-led local start-up companies. It is therefore important to do your homework and know who you are dealing with before entering into negotiations.
English language levels tend to be very high and this is especially true amongst the younger generation. However, it might be polite to check in advance and don’t ignore senior people if their English is weakest, they remain senior managers and will most likely be the decision makers. Czechs see themselves as non-confrontational and their speech can be indirect and they will go out of their way to avoid hurting somebody’s feelings.
Czechs like to plan meetings well in advance and it can be quite difficult to set up a meeting at short notice. This stems from the fact that Czechs do not like to arrive at a meeting unprepared. They are detail oriented people and like the feeling that they have all the facts and figures at their disposal. A lack of punctuality can imply a lack of professionalism as well undermining the seriousness of your intentions, so arrive on time for all meetings.
Share your experiences of doing business in the Czech Republic.